The Connection Between Dr. Seuss, Rosetta Stone, and Theo LeSieg

The Various Pen Names for Theodor Geisel

Cover art of The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. Random House

Theodor "Ted" Seuss Geisel wrote more than 60 children's books and become one of the most famous children's authors of all time. He took a few pen names, but his most popular one is a household name: Dr. Seuss. He penned a number of books under other names Theo LeSieg and Rosetta Stone.

Early Pen Names

 When he first began writing and illustrating children's books, Theodor Geisel combined "Dr." and "Seuss," his middle name, which was also his mother's maiden name, to create the pseudonym "Dr. Seuss." 

He started this practice of using a pseudonym when he was in college and he was stripped of his editorial privileges for the school's humor magazine, the "Jack-O-Lantern." Geisel began publishing under other aliases like L. Pasteur, D.G. Rossetti '25, T. Seuss, and Seuss.

Once he left school and became a magazine cartoonist, he began signing his work as “Dr. Theophrastus Seuss” in 1927. Although he did not finish his doctorate in literature at Oxford as had hoped, he still decided to shorten his pen name to “Dr. Seuss” in 1928. 

Pronunciation of Seuss

In acquiring his new pseudonym, he also gained a new pronunciation for his family name. Most Americans pronounced the name "Soose," rhyming with "Goose." The correct pronunciation is actually "Zoice, rhyming with "Voice."

One of his friends, Alexander Liang, created a Seuss-like poem about how people were mispronouncing Seuss:

You’re wrong as the deuce

And you shouldn’t rejoice

If you’re calling him Seuss.

He pronounces it Soice (or Zoice).

Geisel embraced the Americanized pronunciation (his mother's family was Bavarian) because of its close correlation to famed children's "author" Mother Goose.  Apparently, he also added the "Doctor (abbreviated Dr.)" to his pen name because his father had always wanted him to practice medicine.

Later Pen Names

He used Dr. Seuss for children's books he both wrote and illustrated.

Theo LeSieg (Geisel backwards) is another name he used for books he wrote. Most of the LeSieg books were illustrated by someone else. Rosetta Stone is a pseudonym he used when he worked with Philip D. Eastman. "Stone" is an homage to his wife Audrey Stone.

Books Written Under Different Pen Names

Geisel wrote 13 books under the name Theo LeSieg. They were:

Name of the BookYear
Come Over to My House1966
Hooper Humperdinck...Not Him!1976
I Can Write - By Me, Myself1971
I Wish That I Had Duck Feet1965
In a People House1972
Maybe You Should Fly A Jet! Maybe You Should Be A Vet!1980
Please Try to Remember to First of Octember!1977
Ten Apples on Top1961
The Eye Book1968
The Many Mice of Mr. Brice1973
The Tooth Book1981
Wacky Wednesday1974
Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog?1975

Geisel wrote one book as Rosetta Stone in 1975, "Because A Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!"  It was illustrated by Michael Frith.   

Most Famous Books

Seuss's top-selling books and best-known titles include "Green Eggs and Ham," "The Cat in the Hat," "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," and "Dr. Seuss's ABC."

Many of Seuss's books have been adapted for television, film, and inspired an animated series. Popular titles to hit the silver screen included "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Horton Hears a Who," and "The Lorax."