Did you know Dr. Seuss’ classic Green Eggs And Ham was the result of a bet between Seuss and his publisher over whether or not the children’s book legend could write a book using only 50 words? That’s just one tidbit from a fascinating breakdown of Seuss’ work by Dan Kopf over at Priceonomics. And, given the subject matter, it’s only fitting that the best tidbits come in the form of illustrations — 4 charts tackling not just the aforementioned 50 words, but also Seuss’ complete dominance of the kids’ book market over the course of more than 60 years.
Kopf uses data that’s only current as of 2000, but in the ensuing 15 years, only JK Rowling has approached Seuss-like sales in books for kids. Even allowing for the difference in demographics — Harry Potter is Young Adult fiction and Seuss made picture books for kids 3-to-8 — Seuss broke the 750,000 book mark with so many different books, Rowling could follow Harry until he pays off his student loans and still have a hard time catching up.
So, the next time your eyeballs start to dry up after reading Hop On Pop for the gazillionth time, try to appreciate that you’re exposing your kid to true genius. In the history of pop culture, arguably no single artist produced so much, so successfully as Dr. Seuss. Even The Simpsons think the guy had an impressive run, so don’t be such a Grinch.