Friday, February 24, 2012

Yourt* (for Your, Youth, etc.)

Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss was a hard-shelled hard sell, and not just because it was an allegory about Hitler. It seems that nobody had ever "burped" before in the pages of a children's book—a somewhat quaint notion nowadays when kiddie best-sellers are entirely devoted to topics such as farting and pooping. Speaking of the joys of youth, however, the childless Dr. Seuss was inarguably one of the best things to happen to young people (if not all people) during the past hundred years or so. Theodor Geisel did not start out intending to be a children's author, though. As a matter of fact, he had an awfully hard time convincing publishers of the merits of his first attempt, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. (Which just goes to show ... something, I'm not quite sure what. Something about the value of perseverance, perhaps, or the difficulty in recognizing true genius. Or maybe it was Seuss's original title, "A Story That No One Can Beat"—which may have made certain crabbed publishing houses inclined to try and do just that.) There were 21 instances of Yourt* in OhioLINK (a little over half of which were typos) and 350 in WorldCat. So check it out today in your own catalog. A misspent youth is one thing; a misspelt one is quite another.

(Cover of Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

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