Seussical JR. provides wonderful creative opportunities to explore English language arts, science and math in a whole new way. This Study Companion begins with the stories behind the stories—a look at the personal inspirations of Theodor Seuss Geisel. This includes an overview of some of the ideas behind the pantheon of characters that populated his artwork and books, information about his artistic style and concludes with an overview of Seussical JR. Dr. Seuss was keenly aware of the many cultural and artistic movements which took shape throughout his career. In fact, his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts hosted one of this country’s first surrealist exhibitions, which no doubt had a lifelong impact on Seuss. One of his works, Myopic Woman, from his “Midnight Drawings” (personal art he create just for pleasure,) is unmistakably Seuss, but at the same time is a nod and a wink to cubists Picasso and Braque, as well as surrealists Miro, Magritte, and Dali. Many of the paintings Theodor Seuss Geisel created in the 1930s and 40s use an artistic element derived from his most successful work as a commercial illustrator. This period, known as Geisel’s “Deco Period,” refers to his instinctive use of saturated black backgrounds, combined with Art Deco elements often found within the architecture of Seuss’s artworks.
Lesson plans will give students opportunities to explore the complexities, linguistic and mathematical, that were used to create many a Dr. Seuss flight of fancy. OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS: Entering a Seussical Landscape provides students with several ways of viewing the creatures that cavort through Seussical environments. These explorations will include the science behind the inspiration often found in the messages of his work as well as Theodor Seuss Geisel’s personal inspirations—Seuss’ fanciful collection of creatures and locations were informed by real life environments, particularly the park and the zoo near his childhood home. As an example, drawings of Horton the Elephant meandering along streams in the Jungle of Nool mirror the watercourses in Springfield\'s Forest Park from the time period when Dr. Seuss was a child. OH THE PLACES YOU COULD GO expands students’ understanding of shapes like triangles by exploring them through the lens of Dr. Seuss. Theodor Seuss Geisel took every opportunity to reshape our perspective, both through thought-provoking stories and mind-bending imagery. He transformed the commonplace into flights of fancy designed to intrigue and inspire a new way of looking at the world. This lesson will give students the opportunity to do the same thing—use math concepts to develop fanciful and intriguing landscapes.
JPAS graphic design of Seussical promo image created by Joshua Frederick.
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