July 24, 2015 - 7:00 AM
TORONTO - Cathy Goldsmith never thought she'd see a brand new development in Seussville.
The Random House associate publishing director is the last remaining employee at the company to have worked with the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.
When he died in 1991, she envisioned future publications featuring his older material. But not a completely new book from him.
But as "The Cat in the Hat" says: "But that is not all. Oh no. That is not all."
On Tuesday, the new Dr. Seuss book "What Pet Should I Get?" will hit shelves with material culled from a box discovered in his home. It comes 25 years after the publication of his last new book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" — and it might not be the last.
"I'm just thrilled about it," Goldsmith said in a phone interview from her office in New York.
"It's probably the most exciting thing that's happened in years around here."
"What Pet Should I Get?" is based on a manuscript that the author-illustrator's widow, Audrey Geisel, had put into a box along with other texts and sketches while remodelling her home in La Jolla, Calif., shortly after his death.
Geisel didn't realize what the manuscript was until the fall of 2013, when she and Claudia Prescott — Ted Geisel's longtime secretary and friend — looked through the box.
"We had thought that the office had been completely gone-through previous to this, and in point of fact it probably had been, except this box was somehow misplaced in the house," said Goldsmith.
She and publisher Mallory Loehr flew to the Geisel home within a week of getting the phone call.
"We walked in and all the materials from the box were laid out on this enormous dining room table —everything in nice, neat little piles — and among the stuff that was in the box was the material that ultimately has become 'What Pet Should I Get?'"
The 48-page book sees the brother-sister characters from Dr. Seuss's 1960 book "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" choosing an animal friend.
Goldsmith said the black line artwork for the story, which is told in Dr. Seuss's signature rhyming style, was virtually complete but there were hardly any colour directions. The manuscript was done in typical Dr. Seuss fashion: typed on onionskin paper and taped right on top of the artwork.
Goldsmith has been at Random House since 1977 and worked with Dr. Seuss on several of his books.
"What Pet Should I Get?" "measures up to many of the books that he's written" and is "a good addition to his overall work," she said.
"I'm hoping he'd be happy about (its publication)," added Goldsmith.
"I think we've done our best to take what we learned from him and bring it to bear on what he left behind and try to honour the kind of things he was concerned about and what he worried about, and to do our best to make this fit into the other books that he published."
Goldsmith said "What Pet Should I Get?" was the only project in the box that was virtually complete.
"The Office" star Rainn Wilson narrates the audiobook, which is also out on Tuesday.
Goldsmith said Random House doesn't have any specific plans for the rest of the material that was in the box.
Is it possible we might see another new book one day?
"I would not rule it out completely and I would not rule it in completely," she said.
"It's not a decision we've made yet at this point."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015