Russia’s Dr. Seuss

Anthony Madrid at the Paris Review:

Russia had a Dr. Seuss. Same deal as ours, except his hot decade wasn’t the fifties; it was the twenties. There’s a lot to be said here.

Name: Kornei Chukovsky. Dates: 1882 to 1969. Number of supremo-supremo classic children’s books to his credit: ten or twelve. His stuff is a lot like Green Eggs and Ham: about that long; rhymes bouncing around like popcorn; no real point in sight. (Of course, like with everything else, you can carry whatever point you like into his books and then pretend you found it there. It’s like cops planting weed in people’s cars.)

Chukovsky’s backstory is pleasant. He was a young father; his son was sick. I think he had dysentery, I’m not sure. Somehow, everyone thought the family doctor was the only one would could be consulted, so Chukovsky wound up on a train in the middle of the night with that poor kid, age like four or something, sick and moaning.

more here.