“What Pet Should I Get?,” discovered in 2013, becomes the second long-lost book from a famous author to be released this summer, following Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman.” Random House is clearly expecting the book to fly off the shelves; the publisher ordered a print run of 1 million copies.
The manuscript by Seuss (whose real name was Theodor Geisel) was likely written in the 1950s or 1960s, according to the New York Times, and stashed away in his office. His widow, Audrey Geisel, found the manuscript while having some of the late author’s papers appraised; much of the rest of his archive resides at UC San Diego.
“He often worked on something and tucked it away to return to later,” Audrey Geisel told the New York Times through a spokesperson. “I imagine he was doing just that, and then discovered new stories to tell that took his attention away from it.”
In the new book, a brother and sister (who previously made an appearance in Seuss’ “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”) visit a pet shop to select a new animal companion. Seuss’ website says, “The tale captures a classic childhood moment — choosing a pet — and uses it to illuminate a life lesson: that it is hard to make up your mind, but sometimes you just have to do it!”
Early reaction to the book seems to be somewhat mixed. The Wall Street Journal gave the book a lukewarm review, writing that “the rhymes feel thin and lack the texture and manic density of Geisel’s more seasoned writing.” The New Yorker was a little more positive, promising that the new book “won’t retroactively ruin your childhood. It’s an amiable stroll through Seussdom that might have seemed extraordinary if Dr. Seuss hadn’t published anything else.”