The Boy of Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss by Kathleen Krull


The biography written by Krull is of the famous author, Ted Geisel. Better known by the name of Dr. Seuss. Ted Geisel (1904 -1991), author of more than 60 children’s books, mostly published in his pseudonym Dr. Seuss (though also published of the name Theo LeSieg and one as Rosetta Stone). His career is highly decorated in achievement awards for his contribution toward his works.


Krull helps her readers know Ted Geisel by telling us a story; beginning with, “Once upon a time (p. 7). She makes it relatable to children by starting out his life story as a little boy just like them. She describes the things that he liked and disliked. She also describes the street and the town that he grew up in. As an avid Dr. Seuss reader, I quickly began to see where his stories came from, his own back yard. She also let us know important details about his family; his father, ran the zoo (Little Ted spent a lot of time there).

Krull uses illustrations from Dr. Seuss’ books and her research to produce this authentic biography to her readers. She includes multiple perspectives on his actions growing up; presenting him as a man with both strengths and weaknesses. She uses a few devices to make her writing lively; interior monologue, indirect discourse, and inference. The depth of coverage is at an appropriate level for children. There is enough information about his life that will give readers of all ages a background of the man they know and love as Dr. Seuss.

This book rates five out of five. I grew up reading Dr. Seuss to myself and then raised my children reading Dr. Seuss. I use Dr. Seuss in lesson plans and intend to use them in my upper elementary school classroom! (Because I can read Dr. Seuss here or there, I guess you can say I can read him anywhere!)

The three ways that I may use this book in the elementary classroom are as follows: Guided Reading, Pre-Reading Plan, and QAR. 

     Guided Reading – Each day before reading describe the information that they are reading and assist the students to discuss the information that they know. Give them questions to assist them in their reading passage (like when you read this chapter, what Dr. Seuss books does this bring to mind?).

     Pre-Reading Plan- Build anticipation for this reading experience, by discussing what we know of Ted Geisel. Introducing his books that they know and ones that they may not heard of. Having students in a group discussion share their favorite books and quotes from Dr. Seuss.

     QAR – Ask literal questions students can pull from their reading, use questions that will allow students to pull in text from several areas of the book and think about the context and meaning of the book, further thinking by asking questions based on the book and what the student believes, and ask students their personal ideas on the themes of the book.

I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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