Dr. Seuss may be best known and celebrated for his classic children’s books, but the much loved author had another, slightly unusual pastime. Decades before he began his writing career, Seuss created a very unusual series of taxidermy animals.
The series was titled Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy, and used real bones, skin, beaks and teeth from various animals. Seuss’ father worked as a zookeeper, and would provide the materials for his son to create his art. The 17 fantasy animals he created were all constructed from the parts of animals who had died of natural causes.
Seuss historian Jeff Schuffman notes that the author sometimes took his fantasy creatures with him to bookstores in New York City to promote his work. Although they were not intended for commercial use, they also turned up in ad campaigns.
Since the pieces are so rare, and will sadly continue to decay – artist have come up with creative ways of preserving this part of Seuss’ life. A collection; If I Ran the Zoo is touring art galleries, presenting resin recreations of Seuss’ taxidermy work.
These modern iterations remain true to the originals, and manage to preserve the weird world Seuss began creating in the 1930s.