- the publication of another book based on a manuscript hidden for years
On this blog we recently announced (Actualités littéraires aux États Unis) the publication on 15 July of Harper Lee's second book Go Set a Watchman, which created an enormous amount of buzz not only in literary circles, and went straight to the top of the bestselling lists even before its publication. This week witnessed a second major literary event, the publication on July 28 by Random House of What Pet Should I Get? by America's iconic author and illustrator of children's books, Dr. Seuss (whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel – 1904-1991).
Both authors have enjoyed enormous success. Lee's first book, first published in 1960, Go Kill a Mockingbird was translated into French and many other languages (and Watchman is due to be published in French by Grasset in October under the title Va et poste une sentinelle). The works of Dr. Seuss have sold 600 million copies , (including such French titles as Les Oeufs verts au Jambon, Poisson Un, Poisson Deux, Le Chat chapeauté). Neverthless, both of them may be less well known outside of the United States than they are to American readers.
This is a timely occasion to briefly compare and contrast these recent publications.
What the two books have in common is not only their proximate dates of publication, but the fact that the geneses of both were manuscripts written decades ago (Watchman in 1960 and What Pet Should I Get? somewhere between 1958 and 1962) that were only recently discovered. Seuss’s widow found the manuscript of To Get a Pet shortly after his death but set it aside, and it was re-discovered only two years ago. It should be a source of encouragement to budding writers that Watchman, said to have been written before Mockingbird, was rejected for publication, and the same is true for Seuss's first book And to Think that I saw it on Mulberry Street - rejected by no fewer than 29 publishers.
Admittedly, Dr. Seuss wrote for a very different readership, young children, than did Harper Lee, but it should be remembered that part of Harper Lee's success is due to the fact that Mockingbird has been assigned as a textbook to generations of schoolchildren in the United States. The Seuss books also have an important place in educational history in the USA, because they are credited with changing the reading habits of millions of American children and making reading into a fun experience.
As one review states (in verse);
Dr. Seuss helped us learn how to read,
Boomers, X-ers and millennials all.
He made up new words — like “lightninged” and “nerd,”
And also made reading a ball!
Mockingbird was made into a film, with Gregory Peck in the lead role. Four of Seuss's books have been made into films, many years after they were first published :
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
The Lorax (2012)
In April Random House increased their first printing of What Pet Should I Get? from 500,000 to 1 million because of demand.
The book was reviewed last week on the front page of The New York Times Book Review Section, which attests to the importance attributed to any new book written by Dr. Seuss, who died 24 years ago.  
Rapper Tyler, the Creator, donned a full Cat-in-the-Hat suit on a popular TV show and rapped the entire new book.
But despite the importance attached to this latest publication of a Seuss book, it is unlikely to cause the same amount of brouhaha as the earlier major event of the literary scene, if only because What Pet Should I Get? will be Dr. Seuss's 47th book. 
It remains to see when a French translation will be published. Previous Dr. Seuss books have been translated into French by Anne-Laure Fournier Le Ray.
 compared with the Harry Potter books, which have sold 450 million copies.
 Three other books were published posthumously.
 Harper Lee is alive at 89, but lives a secluded life and by some accounts suffers from amnesia. Consequently it has not been possible to clear the fog of mystery or any of the conspiracy theories surrounding the pause in her career of 55 years before Watchman surfaced so dramatically.
 of which 44 were illustrated by Dr. Seuss himself.
Lecture supplémentaire :
Dr. Seuss Book: Yes, They Found It in a Box
The New York Times, July 21, 2015
Reading Aloud to My Daughter, From Prison
The New York Times, July 7, 2015