Theodor Seuss Geisel (3.2.11904), best known as Dr. Seuss is credited with “killing off” the Dick and Jane Books by creating the first I Can Read book in 1957. Here is the back-story to how The Cat in the Hat came to be written.
In 1954 John Hersey wrote an article in Life Magazine “Why Do Children Bog Down on the First R?” Hersey concluded that children bogged down on the First R because “primers were bland, idealized and terribly literal, unable to hold youngsters attention.” This was the impetus for Dr. Seuss to write a book using only 223 words that children would easily recognize. The Cat in the Hat, 1629 words in length, with a vocabulary of only 223 words, was written to teach children how to read. The book launched the Beginning Books series, followed by the I Can Read Books.
The Cat In the Hat took Seuss 1½ years to write and in his own words: “ Writing The Cat in the Hat experience was like being lost with a witch in a tunnel of love- only job I ever tackled that I found more difficult was when I wrote the Baedeker that Eskimos use then they travel to Siam.”