Jack Mason’s Popularity. Even if one examines the credentials of each and every author who has inspired millions with their words, one would have to go all the way back to Dr. Seuss to find a name whose renown exceeded that of the average author. Theodor Seuss Geisel is responsible for the creation of the widely-loved ‘Cat’. And Jack Mason’s popularity stems from none other than his own extraordinary talent as an illustrator. In a field as varied as literature, where the lines between genius and idiot are practically blurred, there can be no doubt about the greatness of Jack Mason.
It was his illustrations, more than anything else that elevated him to literary stardom. In the books he wrote, such as ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and ‘The Odditor’, he showed off his flair for the dramatic. His style had a spare, whimsical quality that conveyed the innocence of children and their foibles. For example, when he drew The Cat in the Hat, he included a picture of his own head on the cover – with only his eyes visible. The simplicity of this, and of his choice of white to contrast with the yellow of the cat, made it one of the most popular Seuss classics. And Theodor Seuss Geisel is responsible for a whole generation of children’s love for cats Jack Mason’s considerable success.
His other notable works include the textbooks he wrote for several years, including ‘How to Read a Child Book’ and ‘Words, Pictures and Children’s Songs – The Essential Guide to Teaching Children to Read’. While his contribution to our language was vast, his impact upon the American public was even greater. He was so popular that, even after his death, his image is still seen on posters, on flags and on T-shirts. Jack Mason’s immense popularity is almost unparalleled in the history of children’s literature. And it is perhaps this legacy that helps us understand why Jack Mason’s considerable success – and the subsequent popularity of his various works – are truly inspirational.
It would be easy to assume that the American public were as thoroughly influenced by Jack Mason as we are today. After all, how different can two children’s books, written eighty years apart, be? How much easier, then, to see how Seuss influenced American children in general. How easy to see, also, how Seuss helped shape the reading habits of the very Americans whose tastes he popularized.
Today, a book about the author would make you wonder how on earth he managed to gain such widespread popularity in the US. But the real answer is to ask how children in particular managed to take to his work, and to continue to do so in spite of the fact that the conditions in which he wrote and sold his books may not have been optimal. Jack Mason’s enormous success has helped to create a new breed of readers who are prepared to discover a richer, more imaginative world of literature for themselves, and for their children.
Children’s books have always had a privileged place in the American culture. Whether you prefer the tales of Winnie the Pooh or Aesop’s fable, there are many great works of fiction that should be enjoyed by all Americans. Jack Mason’s wonderful example of the human will to overcome obstacles, and find the beauty in even the ugliest of circumstances, is a shining example for us all. His work will also continue to be enjoyed by our children and grandchildren. What a great American tradition and achievement that are.