Sketches of fantastic creatures by Dr Seuss that have never before been published will see the light of day in new books being written and illustrated by inclusive up-and-coming authors and artists.
The new line of books will include original stories inspired by previously unpublished illustrations selected from the author’s archives at the University of California San Diego, Dr Seuss Enterprises, which owns the rights to Dr Seuss’s work, said on the late writer’s birthday on Wednesday.
The announcement comes exactly one year after the business founded by the family of Dr Seuss — whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel — announced it would stop publishing six Dr Seuss titles because they include racist and insensitive images, a decision that drew both condemnation and praise.
In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks and eating from a bowl.
“If I Ran the Zoo” includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.
The other books affected were “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer”.
The new authors and illustrators will represent a diverse cross-section of racial backgrounds to represent as many families as possible, Dr Seuss Enterprises announced in a statement.
Company officials were not available to comment, a spokesman said.
“We look forward to putting the spotlight on a new generation of talent who we know will bring their unique voices and style to the page, while also drawing inspiration from the creativity and imagination of Dr Seuss,” Susan Brandt, president and CEO of Dr Seuss Enterprises, said in the statement.
The books, under the banner Seuss Studios and published by Random House Children’s Books, will be geared toward readers aged four to eight.
“The original Dr Seuss sketch that serves as the inspiration for each of the new Seuss Studios books will be included in the book, along with a note from the creators explaining how they were inspired, and their process,” the San Diego-based company said.
The images include a cat-like creature with enormous ears and a series of colourful hummingbirds with pointy noses.
The goal is to continue Geisel’s legacy, started in 1957 with the launch of the Beginner Books imprint at Random House, of inspiring young readers and supporting writers and artists starting their publishing careers, the company said.
Dr Seuss Enterprises has not yet disclosed the writers and illustrators who will work on the new books because contracts are still being ironed out.
The first of the new books is expected to hit shelves next year, and the goal is to publish at least two new books per year.
Dr Seuss books such as “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat” remain popular more than 30 years after Geisel’s death in 1991.
He earned an estimated $35 million (£26.2 million) in 2021, making him the fifth-highest paid dead celebrity of the year, according to Forbes. Roald Dahl was number one, followed by Prince, Michael Jackson and Charles Schulz.
Geisel, who was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, was second on the list in 2020 with $33 million (£24.7 million) in earnings.
His books have been translated into dozens of languages, as well as in Braille, and are sold in more than 100 countries.