Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!
March 2 marks what would have been the famous author’s 114th birthday. In honor of the occasion, his publisher Random House gave PEOPLE the exclusive roundup of the top five best-selling Dr. Seuss books of all time — and No. 1 isn’t what you’d think.
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child,” he once said.
Born Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss adopted his catchy moniker shortly after he got fired from his university’s newspaper for drinking bootleg gin. He then went on to have a lucrative career in advertising before he published his first book in 1937. After a few publishing flops, the world discovered his magical stories, like Green Eggs and Ham and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In total, Dr. Seuss wrote more than 60 books (though not all of them were published).
Dr. Seuss’ success continued after his death on Sept. 24, 1991. Almost every year, his children’s books prove their timelessness by making best-seller lists. By 2015, Dr. Seuss’ books had been translated into 17 languages and had sold 650 million copies in 95 countries, according to The Washington Post.
How to Make Green Eggs and Ham
But what’s the inspiration behind his great stories?
In May 1986, Dr. Seuss visited his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, where he discussed his zany drawings with a group of schoolchildren, according to The New York Times.
“I can’t draw too well, so the knees keep slipping down and the elbows keep slipping up,” he joked.
Becoming more serious, Dr. Seuss said, “All of my books are based on truth, an exaggerated truth.”
Here are the top five best-selling Dr. Seuss books of all time:
5. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990)
4. Dr. Seuss’s ABC (1963)
3. The Cat in the Hat (1957)
2. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960)
1. Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
If you want more of Dr. Seuss, check out his most inspirational quotes.