“The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories” by Dr. Suess “The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories” by Dr. Suess

“The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories” by Dr. Suess

I’m excited about this: Coming in September is a new book containing previously unpublished stories by Dr. Seuss, The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories. It contains seven rarely-seen illustrated tales by Theodor Geisel, compiled by Suess-ologist Charles Cohen, that originally appeared in magazines between 1948 and 1959. This news report below explains more:

  • The Gee

    thanks for the info.

  • Cool stuff, shame they didn’t mention Suess’ work as an animation director.


    A Book!
    A Book!
    That’s brand and new!
    Why, I could read it in a shoe!

    But while the crowd does cheer and rave,
    I wonder if they robbed his grave?

    An artist sometimes hides his work.
    When he thinks he’ll look just like a jerk.
    You only show your very best,
    And stash away all the rest.

    But once you’re gone,
    They raid your drawers.
    To search for hidden,
    “More” and “Mores”!

    To squeeze and squeeze,
    That extra buck.
    Which my friends, is why,
    I don’t give a __________!!!

    • A fair criticism of “Daisy-Head Mayzie”, to be sure, which was pulled out of a drawer and given faux-Seuss illustrations designed to mislead. But these stories *were* published by Seuss, and are merely being republished. I look forward to them.

      However, the thought that the good Dr. is “smiling down on” Mrs. Geisel’s many poor licensing decisions…*that’s* a bit hard to swallow.

      • A valid point, you make, I see.
        Seuss means a lot to you and me.

        His early work, long laid to rest –
        May not have been old Suess’s best.

        When he was famed and widely known,
        He could have had these old works shown.

        I eye this new book with suspicion,
        And wonder what he’d be wishin’?

      • I’d guess these stories he’d republish,
        But still veto that “Mayzie” rubblish.

        (And were he here, there would be nary
        A “Bippolo” film with Jim Carrey.)

      • Agreed! Agreed! You’re very wise!
        We see the world through sim’lar eyes!
        And were Suess on this mortal coil,
        The grave-robbing he’d surely foil.

        They mean no harm, their goals are good!
        It all comes down to – “If they should”.
        Does it expand? Does it improve,
        Our knowledge of the artist’s groove?

        To use his name to shill more schlock,
        Does nothing to improve his stock.
        Grab some cash – jump and go “Yee-Haw”
        You’ve put a mustache on the Mona Lisa!

        (Okay. That last line doesn’t work that well.)

      • NC

        ^ This has got to be the best conversation on this blog EVER!

  • Awesome, I’ll definitely going to check this out.

  • Jason Geyer

    I find it odd just how often Seuss’ name is misspelled. I’ve seen it as “Suess” three times this week alone. I guess it just goes so strongly against phonetics that the “e” comes before the “u”.

    • Carina

      If you’re going to worry about how it’s spelled… why not about how it’s pronounced? Theodor Seuss Geisel himself pronounced his German middle name like it rhymed with “voice” (so, Dr. “Soice”)… but, when you try to sound the German name out in English, it gets pronounced like it rhymes with “moose”…. and the popular (mis)pronunciation has stuck. He eventually adopted it himself, saying that it evoked a friendlier image… sounds a bit like “Mother Goose”.

  • Fielding Westinghouse

    So ‘unpublished’ really means ‘published only in magazines that most people alive today never saw’, which wouldn’t grab the public’s attention so much. The fruit of Dr. Seuss’s colon is finer than today’s prime fillet.

  • There are many more “lost” Seuss stories that fall into this same category, some with Seuss’ ongoing cast of characters (“The Royal Housefly and Bartholomew Cubbins”; “Horton and the Kwuggerbug”). Charles D. Cohen’s book _The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss_ (2004) has a whole chapter on these discoveries—I’m only amazed it’s taken so long for some of them to be anthologized.

    • Charles D. Cohen

      Thank you for those kind words, David. For what it’s worth, I have included several stories from the pool of “lost” ones in each of the books I’ve done. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the original Children’s Activities magazine from 1955, the only place that you get to enjoy “Speedy Boy” is in The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss, as you mentioned.

      Likewise, if you want to see “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” “The Perfect Present,” and “Prayer For A Child,” I put them in the 50th anniversary retrospective edition of How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, due to their thematic relationship to that story. And, in the analogous 50th anniversary retrospective for Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, I added the similarly-themed stories
      “The Ruckus” and “The Kindly Snather.”

      But, as I’m sure you understand, there are copyright and licensing issues involved, as well as the general difficulty of getting books published, which only gets harder as our society moves away from the printed page. I’ve been championing these stories for at least a decade, but it took a great deal of effort to bring together a collection like this, especially in this format. I felt very strongly that this should be done as Ted Geisel previously had (and would have continued to have) done. That meant, for example, expanding a four-page magazine story like “Gustav, the Goldfish” into a 10-page book story by enlarging the images significantly to picture-book size and spreading out and arranging the text to refer to the relevant images. The result is a book that appears as Ted believed a children’s book should look, rather than as a magazine had room to devote to it.

      I’m with you, David–I hope that there is an opportunity to bring as many of these “lost” stories to the public’s attention as possible, and I’ll keep working toward that goal. Of course, for the publishers, there is no denying that this is a business. So any future projects will rely on the success of this current one. If there are enough sales to prove that there is a strong interest, they’ll be more willing to continue in the future. I learned that the hard way–with slow sales of the Yertle anniversary edition, my 50th anniversary retrospective for The Sneetches was canceled, as was my 75th anniversary edition of And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. In this economy, money talks! So, for the moment, there will be no book to buy if you want to read most of the other stories that take on Mulberry Street, like “Latest News From Mulberry Street,” “How Officer Pat Saved The Whole Town,” or “Marco Comes Late” (although you will be able to see the bizarre menagerie members of “Steak For Supper,” a Mulberry Street story, in the upcoming Bippolo Seed book that is the subject of this post).

  • Charles D. Cohen

    Just to clear up a few things on which some of you have been commenting and speculating, although eagerness may accidentally lead individual reports into some mis-phrasing, the seven stories in The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss all appeared in Redbook magazine in 1950-51. But when the new month’s magazine came in, the previous issue was usually discarded. Ted Geisel did take a few of the stories from his magazine work and adapt them into book form (like The Sneetches, Yertle The Turtle, and a few others), but most of them have languished in limbo for the last 50-60 years.

    Ted Geisel did all of the writing and illustrating for these tales–no one was brushing crumbs and paperclips off of half-finished manuscripts in the bottom of a drawer. And although the book has the full support and excitement of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, they had nothing to do with the genesis, and very little to do with the development, of this project.

    What makes these stories so fascinating (and, to me, vitally important) is that this was Dr. Seuss at exactly the time that he was becoming Dr. Seuss as we know him. Along with expressing the excitement of recovering these “lost” stories so that fans can enjoy them, the main point of my introduction to the book is to illustrate how these stories mark the transition in Ted Geisel’s career from predominantly prose stories to the rhyming tales that we so closely associate with him now. He already was a stellar children’s book author. But these were the stories in which he experimented with perfecting his skills with the rhythm and sound of language in order to change how children would ultimately learn to read.

    This is the first book published in more than two decades containing material completely written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss. We lost the marvelous man in 1991, so “new” material, especially of this quality, is a remarkable opportunity for fans of all stripes around the globe.

    I am very grateful to Mr. Beck and his readers for taking an interest in this exciting new book in advance of its publication.

    Charles D. Cohen, DMD
    Author of these Random House Books:
    The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss (2004)
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas! A 50th-Anniversary Retrospective (2007)
    Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories: A 50th-Anniversary Retrospective (2008)
    The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss (2011)

  • Ha! “Fox In The Socks”.

    I was lucky enough to find a hardcover of
    For $2.50. It has a few cartoons that might threaten the good
    Doc’s family-friendly image. It also has his wonderful FLIT ads.

  • swac

    Since we have a Seuss expert on board, have any of the good Dr.’s designs for The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T ever seen the light of day?

    • NC


    • Charles Cohen

      The Geisels have donated a good portion of their Seussiana to Mandeville Special Collections Library at the University of California, San Diego Included in their holdings, along with various drafts of the screenplay, are some other items of interest. I directed some people to this collection who were particularly interested in the soundtrack and they were able to utilize the demo recordings in the 3-cd set that they ultimately produced.

      The collection does list “set designs,” “costume design and character sketches,” “movie sketches,” “oversize sketches,” “and miscellaneous preliminary sketches” among the items they have.

      But you definitely need to make arrangements if you hope to see those items–it is the type of place where you need to request items be brought to you for viewing and you wear white gloves while handling them.

  • Cool! I thought this was a parody and was reading it as “The Bipolar Seed” until this blog post.

  • This news is amazing to me. My kids and I will be grabbing this as soon as it’s out. I’d love to see more of these tales make it back to print. I’m also more eager to pick up the other Cohen books I never got around to reading.