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Follow the link for more information. Against a blue background, yellow lettering at the top reads, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”. At the bottom in yellow, “by Dr. In the middle, a boy stands on a street, looking to the viewer’s right, watching a cloud of smoke and zip lines leading off the page. To his left is a pole with a sign reading “Mulberry Street” on it. 1937, the story follows a boy named Marco, who describes a parade of imaginary people and vehicles traveling along a road, Mulberry Street, in an elaborate fantasy story he dreams up to tell his father at the end of his walk. However, when he arrives home he decides instead to tell his father what he actually saw—a simple horse and wagon.
Geisel conceived the core of the book aboard a ship in 1936, returning from a European vacation with his wife. And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street. At least 20 publishers rejected the book before Geisel ran into an old college classmate, who had just become juvenile editor at Vanguard Press. Vanguard agreed to publish the book, and it met with high praise from critics upon release, though sales were not as impressive. Geisel returned to fictionalized versions of Springfield in later books, and Marco appeared again in 1947 in the Dr.
And see what you can see. However, the only thing Marco has seen on his walk is a horse pulling a wagon on Mulberry Street. To make his story more interesting, Marco imagines progressively more elaborate scenes based around the horse and wagon. He imagines the horse is first a zebra, then a reindeer, then an elephant, and finally an elephant helped by two giraffes. The wagon changes to a chariot, then a sled, then a cart holding a brass band. Marco’s realization that Mulberry Street intersects with Bliss Street leads him to imagine a group of police escorts. Chinese man, a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat, and a man with a ten-foot beard.
Now almost home, he snaps back to reality and rushes up the front steps, eager to tell his father his imagined story. However, when his father questions him about what he saw on his way home, his face turns red and he says, “Nothingbut a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street. Geisel’s popular campaign featured the line “Quick, Henry, the Flit! Geisel suffered from sea sickness, he jotted down a rambling plot that started with “a stupid horse and wagon”. To keep himself occupied, he began reciting poetry to the rhythm of the ship’s engines and soon found himself saying, “And that is a story that no one can beat, and to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street. For days after they landed, he had the rhythm of the ship’s engine stuck in his head, so, at Helen’s suggestion, he decided to write a story based around it. The Morgans based this account on interviews with Geisel, who had given similar accounts of the book’s creation to journalists throughout his career, often omitting or altering various details.
In one version, he had already been working on the book for six months before the European trip, and the trip home provided the final breakthrough. In another, he claimed he had the book about half finished when they landed in the US. According to the Morgans, “Although he lived for wit, his flights of fancy were subject to strict review. He spent at least six months on the book, questioning every word and writing numerous drafts. He wrote the poem out in pencil on yellow paper and asked his wife to discuss every page with him.
Publishers posited a variety of criticisms of the book, including that fantasy was not salable, that children’s books written in verse were out of style, and that the book lacked a clear moral message. According to the Morgans, Geisel angrily exclaimed to his wife, “What’s wrong with kids having fun reading without being preached at? She cited the book’s cartoon-like drawings and its story, which might be seen to encourage daydreaming and lying to one’s parents, as possible reasons for its rejection. Geisel to his office to introduce him to Vanguard’s president James Henle and editor Evelyn Shrifte. Henle had been gaining a reputation for signing authors whom other, larger publishers had rejected. He soon agreed to publish the book, with only the condition that its title be changed. Geisel cited the incident for his belief in luck and later stated, “If I had been walking down the other side of Madison Avenue, I’d be in the dry-cleaning business today.