Helen Palmer was born in New York in 1898. For 40 years she was married to Dr Seuss. They had no children – Helen was unable to. In later years she suffered from cancer and partial paralysis. For the last few years of Helen’s life, Dr Seuss was having an affair with the woman who would later become his second wife. In 1967 an ill, depressed and heartbroken Helen committed suicide by an overdose of barbiturates.
"Dear Ted, What has happened to us? I don't know. I feel myself in a spiral, going down down down, into a black hole from which there is no escape, no brightness. And loud in my ears from every side I hear, 'failure, failure, failure...' I love you so much ... I am too old and enmeshed in everything you do and are, that I cannot conceive of life without you ... My going will leave quite a rumor but you can say I was overworked and overwrought. Your reputation with your friends and fans will not be harmed ... Sometimes think of the fun we had all thru the years ..."
The illustrations by P. D. Eastman – a protégé of Dr Seuss – bring a charming realism to the preposterous story. Eastman’s drawings are much truer to life than the zany art of Dr Seuss, and something about the realistic looking figures – the baffled policeman and the concerned fireman – make it easy for a child to put themselves in the position of the little boy, to think maybe this really could happen!