Today is Dr. Seuss' birthday. Which you probably know if you are involved with any school system in America. At our school we call it Read Across America day and we come to school in our pajamas and read all day.
And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street was Dr. Seuss' first book, published in 1937. Seuss and his wife loved traveling, and on a return trip across the Atlantic, the rhythm of the ships engines inspired the rhythm of the poem that eventually became Mulberry Street (It is a really long title to write over and over.) According to Wikipedia, this book was rejected 20-42 times. (Which seems like a really broad range.) That is a lot of rejecting for a Seuss book. Ironically, since he died, they have tidied up several discarded manuscripts and published them, since there can never be too much Seuss in the world. Imagine if he had given up with rejection 19... We couldn't even wear jammies to school today!
A world without Seuss would be a much less interesting world. Dr Seuss embraced the bizarre and encouraged the imagination like no author before him.
(interesting side note(I love wikipedia!): Theodore Giesel changed his name to Seuss because he was caught drinking gin with some friends in his dorm room at Dartmouth. Since America was still under Prohibition, drinking at all was a major offense. He was kicked out of all extra curricular activities, including his work on the college humor magazine. To bypass this silliness, he started signing his work with Dr and his middle name Seuss. Thereby, Dr. Seuss was born.)
In And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, little Marco is walking home from school, trying to see something interesting to tell his father, who told him to "keep his eyelids up and see what he could see."
Unfortunately, Marco's trip home is through quiet, boring Mulberry street. All Marco sees is a horse and cart.
Since he wants to make it interesting for his father, he jazzes that horse and cart up with a zebra.
And since the zebra seemed good, but not quite perfect he kept going, expanding on the horse and cart, changing a little here and there, eventually getting to a blue elephant towing a sled.
Which got better and better...
Until it was a full fledged parade, complete with police escort.
Marco is finally convinced his father will be wowed by his story.
Yet, when it comes right down to it, Marco isn't that experienced of a storyteller (or liar) so... the horse and cart comes full circle and is just a horse and cart.