Mr. Fox is a huge fan!
With his 119th birthday just over a week away, Mr. Fox decided to put his best thinking cap on and pay homage to Dr. Seuss - one of the best children’s books writers of all time.
Escape rooms, according to Dr. Seuss
60 minutes on the clock.
Can you beat the Fox in a Box?
And as the clock goes tick tick tock…
You’re gonna have to think out of the box.
Don’t know how to open that lock?
Sure you’ve brought out your best Sherlock?
Call everyone that’s in your flock,
And work as a team to break deadlock.
Still can’t figure out what to do?
Ask the Gamemaster, would you?
And once you’ve got the clue,
Move fast to follow through.
Hark, the end draws near!
Will you make it out of there?
Sure you will, and once you do,
Stick around for a group photo!
Why is Mr. Fox so interested in Dr. Seuss?
Well, there’s the fact that a lot of our players - especially the younger ones - tie us in with one of his works (care to guess which one it is?).
But it’s more than that.
Here’s the deal - Dr. Seuss was a master at conjuring up dream worlds for folks to lose themselves in.
From The Grinch prowling around at Christmastime to The Lorax who pleads with the Once-ler not to cut down trees...
Dr. Seuss crafted characters and adventures which not only caught your attention while you were reading his works, but also remained with you as warm memories of happy times.
And that’s kind of what we at Fox in a Box try to do through our escape room adventures.
From basing our adventure storylines on popular themes (like going on a spy mission or breaking out of prison) to acquiring realistic props for our rooms, and designing puzzles that challenge but don’t frustrate - they’re all aimed at creating an experience that players can lose themselves in and which will stay on with players as unforgettable memories.
Dr. Seuss himself lived a fascinating life that was, in many ways, no less of an adventure than the stories he wrote.
From selling war bonds as a teenager to wearing hats for creative inspiration, there are enough anecdotes from his life to fill an entire afternoon’s conversation.
9 facts about Dr. Seuss that you didn’t know (probably)
Let’s start off with his name…
From Mr. Geissel to Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss’ full name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, with Seuss being his mother’s middle name.
During his years as a student at Dartmouth College, he became editor of the college humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern.
One day, he was caught drinking gin in the college dorm. Unfortunately, Prohibition was in effect at the time, so he was stripped of his editorship.
However, he continued to write for the magazine under various pen names such as T. Seuss and Dr. Theophrastus Seuss - and continued this practice even after leaving college and writing professionally.
Over time, he hit on Dr. Seuss as his go-to pseudonym.
Another pseudonym he often used, mostly when working with illustrators, was Theo. LeSieg - ‘LeSieg’ being ‘Geisel’ spelt backwards.
You may also have been pronouncing it wrong
Dr. Seuss and his family pronounced his middle name ‘Soice’ (or ‘Zoice’), and not ‘Soose’ or ‘Zeus’, which is how most folks say it.
Teddy Roosevelt gave him permanent stagefright
Did we mention Dr. Seuss sold war bonds as a teenager?
This was when he was a Boy Scout, during World War I.
He was so successful at selling them that he was selected (along with nine others) for a medal to be presented by then-President Roosevelt himself.
He stood on stage, in front of a large crowd, awaiting his turn.
Unfortunately, he’d been placed at the far end of the line, and - this is the crucial part - only nine medals had been sent out.
So when Teddy Roosevelt reached the young Dr. Seuss, there was nothing to give.
Puzzled, the President asked, “What’s this little boy doing here?”.
The young Seuss was taken off the stage - and the incident scarred him with stage fright for life.
He started out writing ads
Around the time he was at Dartmouth, or right after leaving it, Ted (Dr. Seuss) came up with the tagline “Quick, Henry, the Flit” for a comic strip he created for the Flit bug spray on behalf of an advertising agency known as Judge.
Flit sales skyrocketed, and the phrase entered the national lexicon. In fact, the ad was so successful that it ran for…wait for it…seventeen years!
And Ted found himself in demand as an ad creator, working for companies such as Standard Oil, Ford, GE, and NBC.
His career as a children’s author was saved by being on the right side of the road (literally)
The very first children’s book that Ted wrote was And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.
It was rejected by publishers. Not once, not twice, but a total of twenty seven times.
It was finally published by an acquaintance that he ran into on the street.
Dr. Seuss has said that had he been walking on the wrong side of the road that day, he wouldn’t have run into his friend, and Mulberry Street may never have been published.
He made the word ‘nerd’ famous
We hear and use the word ‘nerd’ all the time nowadays.
When describing someone studious from school.
When describing the squinting guy in glasses in slasher films from the 1980s.
Did you know that it was Dr. Seuss who made the word ‘nerd’ the word of choice for school kids to describe someone smarter than themselves?
To be clear, he didn’t come up with the word.
But his use of the word in his works made it the popular one it is today.
He had a collection of over 300 hats
Many of us love collecting stuff. We collect stamps. We collect coins.
Dr. Seuss collected hats.
He kept his collection - which was over 300-strong at its peak - in a secret closet.
And it doesn’t end there.
Whenever he faced writer’s block, he would go to his hat closet and start putting on hats one after another till he regained inspiration and confidence.
He’d also don them at dinner parties.
He’s an Academy Award winner. And a Pulitzer Prize winner. And an Emmy winner.
He won two Oscars - one in 1947 for a documentary called Design for Death; and the other three years later for an animated short known as Gerald McBoing-Boing.
And he won the Pulitzer in 1984 for…and we quote…
…his special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America's children and their parents
The two Emmies he won were in 1977 and 1982, for children’s specials Halloween Is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches The Cat In The Hat.
He penned a New York Times piece about being an author for children
On Sunday, the 16th of November in 1952, an article titled . . . But for Grown-Ups Laughing Isn't Any Fun appeared in the NYT.
It was by Dr. Seuss, and it talked about being an adult who writes for kids and how he was perceived by his peers.
It began (again, a direct quote)...
THERE are many reasons why an intelligent man should never ever write for children. Of all professions for a man, it is socially the most awkward.
Here’s a link to the article (paywall warning).
Green Eggs And Ham started out as a joke
When Ted wrote The Cat in the Hat, he had to restrict himself to a list of 348 words according to the rules of writing children’s books at the time.
After that turned out to be a roaring success, Ted’s friend - and Random House co-founder - Bennett Cerf bet him $50 that he couldn’t write a book with just fifty words.
Ted took up the challenge, and authored Green Eggs And Ham. And the rest is history.
Dr. Seuss’ birthday is celebrated as National Read Across America Day. What are you planning to do with your kids to mark the day?
Let us know on Facebook!