New, Priceless Dr. Seuss Children’s Book Found in Late Author’s Home

It's been 25 years since the last Dr. Seuss book was published.

Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get? (detail). Courtesy Random House Children's Books.

A lost Dr. Seuss book will be published by Random House Children’s Books this summer. Theodor Geisel, who famously authored 46 children’s books including Green Eggs and HamThe Cat in the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas under the Seuss pseudonym, died in 1991 at age 87. His final book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, came out 25 years ago.

The new tome, with its characteristically rhyming title, What Pet Should I Get?, features the same brother and sister characters as Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. In 2013, Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, and Claudia Prescott, his friend and former secretary, were cleaning out Seuss’s home office in La Jolla, California, when they discovered the manuscript and accompanying black-and-white sketches in a box of paperwork.

Geisel called Random House, which sent two executives to La Jolla to review the materials. “Pages and pages of manuscripts and sketches were laid out on the big glass dining room table,” said Susan Brandt, president of licensing and marketing of Dr. Seuss Enterprise, in a statement. “It was truly a magical moment, and we immediately knew this was more than just a box of sketches.”

Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get?. Photo: courtesy Random House Children's Books.

Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get?. Courtesy Random House Children’s Books.


Dr. Seuss is not the only popular American author making an unexpected comeback this summer after many years without a new publication. On July 14, 88-year-old Harper Lee will finally release a second novel, Go Set a Watchman, which was actually written before the seminal classic To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Similarly, Seuss’s What Pet Should I Get? was most likely written between 1958 and 1962.

Lest you worry that Seuss left the book unpublished for a reason, Random House Children’s Books president and publisher Barbara Marcus assured the Wall Street Journal that “it’s up to the level of what one expects from a Dr. Seuss book: the humor, the wonderful illustrations, the rhyming, the imagination, all the things that are so Seussian.”

Dr. Seuss, <em>What Pet Should I Get?</em>, original sketch. Photo: courtesy Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get?, original sketch.
Photo: courtesy Dr. Seuss Enterprises.


“While undeniably special, it is not surprising to me that we found this because Ted always worked on multiple projects and started new things all the time—he was constantly writing and drawing and coming up with ideas for new stories,” said Geisel in a statement. The box contained two additional unreleased Seuss books, which are also forthcoming from Random House.

For more of artnet News’ coverage of author manuscripts, see Jane Austen’s Unfinished Manuscript Gets Museum ShowFrance Gets Back Original Manuscript of Marquis de Sade’s Infamous Erotica, and Lost Gospel Attributed to Jesus’s Mother Discovered at Harvard.

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