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The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough: Early Writings and Cartoons by Dr. Seuss Hardcover – 1987


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co (1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688065481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688065485
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Here's a real treat for those who spent their formative years reading about the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. Marschall has compiled 60 cartoon essays, 20 articles, and 30 cartoon fantasies of early Seuss. Included are the solutions to such earthshaking problems as "How To Eject a Cow from Your Apartment," and notes on how to "Punish Your Offspring Scientifically." Then there's the cartoon series of advertisements for Flit insecticide ("Quick Henry! The Flit!"). Here's college humor at its bestsheer silliness, outrageous characters, and fine writing. Marschall's introduction offers a background on Seuss's development as a writer, as well as a glimpse at college humor of the 1920s and 30s. Recommended. Carol Spielman Lezak, General Learning Corp., Highland Park, Ill.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
for anyone seeking the inane and absurd this book is a must. featuring essays, cartoons and captions, and illustrations all done in the purely irrational Seuss style, it none the less has a raw and unpolished feel; early work with excellent quality and different to the more known Seuss children's books. the content ranges from essays as "sex and the sea god- a frothy novelette" to educational charts on "making our daughters less irritating" and an extremely funny cartoon collection. if -and possibly only if- you are a fan of the nonsensical, Seuss' genius, as in this book, will have you chuckling for a long time yet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
We think of Dr. Suess as only a children's author but his early works, as seen in this collection, show his brilliance in the socio-political arena as well. I especially like his story, "The Waiting Room at Dang-Dang:Or Where the D.T.'s Go While Waiting for Assignment" and the story from which the book takes its title. If you are a Dr. Suess fan, and you can find this book available, it is a must for your collection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By F. Orion Pozo on August 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs the Dough: Early Writings and Cartoons by Dr. Seuss is a collection of writings from 1927 to 1937 by Theodore Geisel, from the time before be became known to the world as Dr. Seuss. These are not works for children, but rather humorous pieces for magazines like Judge, Life, College Humor, and Liberty. Filled with word play and absurdist writing, the pieces have lost some of their humor but are still interesting background reading for those interested in Dr. Seuss. The illustrations are probably more important than the writing as they show the development of the cartoon style that made Dr. Seuss famous.

Many of the essays are written under the pen name of Dr. Theophrastus Seuss, which would later be shortened to Dr. Seuss. There is a long piece where Uncle Theophrastus explains to his nephew Quackenbush "The Facts of Life." Another delightful story tells of a corporation that decides to forego profit to manufacture items of the highest "Quality."

A series of one-page Little Educational Charts attempt to explain the most absurd aspects of things like the importance of Simplified Spelling (see the book's title for a sample) and other one-page essays on imaginary uses of birds and beasts and whimsical word meanings were obviously humorous magazine pieces. The book ends with a series of ads for a spray insecticide called FLIT that all contain the catchphrase, "Quick Henry, the Flit."

While the writing has suffered a bit from the passage of time, the artistic humor of Geisel's drawings remains, and provides good background for those who only know his children's books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Hardison on April 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Long before he envisioned the Cat that would forever change children's literature, Theodore Geisel was penning essays and cartoons for the humor magazines of the roaring 20's. But even then, he was best known as Dr. Seuss.
Though these essays and articles aren't in his characteristic rhymes, they are still full of the wildly outrageous shenanigans we remember from his later works. Herein we learn "The Origin of Contract Bridge" (a game played by ancient Druids using croquet mallets), how to pull the old "Cow-out of Pocket" trick, as well as "Some New and Better Superstitions". Like most absurdist writings, it's hard to hit the mark every time and some of the good doctor's writings fall flat, but most are sure to induce giggles.
Writing is only half of Seuss' talents however. All of the prose is illustrated, and the book also includes a nice collection of his cartoons. Most are one panel affairs reminiscent of Gary Larson's "Far Side" cartoons, but where Larson reveled in simplicity, Seuss fills his visions with detailed (if googly-eyed) beasts and fancifully intricate architecture.
This is one of those "rainy day books". The kind you can pick up and thumb through when you need a quick case of the grins.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this in a garage sale many years ago the first time and had a hard time understanding much of it. Not really a kids book, but as I re-read and thought about the poetry and funny stories it really inspired me and I have given this as a gift to those like minded individuals who are hard to find gifts for. The title is my favorite. The Tuff Cuffs as he Pluffs the Duff.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William D. Hastings on February 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was weaned on the genius of Dr. Seuss. I can still vividly recall the fantastical characters and creatures that so thoroughly captured my young imagination and made me want to read more. In the collection The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough: Early Writings and Cartoons by Dr. Seuss, the author's distinct whimsy is on full display. These works are decidedly more adult, or at least aimed at a more adult audience, with clever wordplay and biting satire giving way to a delicious frenzy of absurdity as the good doctor proves that he's always held a slightly bizarre but ever hilarious sense of humor. As I read, I was absolutely delighted to see that the drawings and cartoons were signature Seuss, populated by his odd menagerie of animals, some of which I recognized as making their way into his later works which I devoured in my formative years. This collection was a pure joy, and has instilled in me an even greater appreciation for Dr. Seuss' unique sensibilities, and for his vast influence.
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More About the Author

"A person's a person, no matter how small," Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. "Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted."

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of kids learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at that time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" which became a popular expression.

Geisel published his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937, after 27 publishers rejected it.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

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#21 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#20 in Books
#20 in Books