The beloved author and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel -better known as Dr. Seuss- has sold over 6 million books since he penned his first work, “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.” His storytelling remains wildly popular and statistics show 11,000 copies of his books fly off the shelves daily.
It’s hard to imagine, but Dr. Seuss wasn’t always the celebrated household name he is today. During his early years after graduating from Dartmouth, Seuss spent his time shopping his first work to every publisher in NYC. In total, “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” was rejected by 27 different publishing companies.
Seuss had completely given up hope on his brainchild, but a chance meeting on the street while on his way home from that 27th rejection changed his life forever.
Below is an excerpt from the book “A Curious Mind” that explains the moment Dr. Seuss met his destiny on the streets of NYC.
Here’s the encounter:
“The story of Geisel [Seuss] being rejected twenty-seven times before his first book was published is often repeated, but the details are worth relating.
Geisel says he was walking home, stinging from the book’s twenty-seventh rejection, with the manuscript and drawings for Mulberry Street under his arm, when an acquaintance from his student days at Dartmouth College bumped into him on the sidewalk on Madison Avenue in New York City. Mike McClintock asked what Geisel was carrying. ‘That’s a book no one will publish,’ said Geisel. ‘I’m lugging it home to burn.’
McClintock had just that morning been made editor of children’s books at Vanguard; he invited Geisel up to his office, and McClintock and his publisher bought Mulberry Street that day. When the book came out, the legendary book reviewer for the New Yorker, Clifton Fadiman, captured it in a single sentence: ‘They say it’s for children, but better get a copy for yourself and marvel at the good Dr. Seuss’s impossible pictures and the moral tale of the little boy who exaggerated not wisely but too well.’
Geisel would later say of meeting McClintock on the street, ‘If I’d been going down the other side of Madison Avenue, I’d be in the dry-cleaning business today.”
Here’s the Takeaway: Determination in the face of obstacles is vital in every aspect of life. Take a page from Dr. Suess’ story and know that even in the face of utter rejection, there is always hope… just keep trying!
Share with your friends that need a little encouragement from the late, great Dr. Seuss today.