SOLON, Ohio — Ron Hill says he has always been a fan of Dr. Seuss, the children’s book author and illustrator known for his simple rhyming books for beginning readers.
“I think his illustrations were very influential on me since, like, elementary school,” said Hill, a cartoonist and illustrator from Solon.
Hill’s latest book pays homage to Dr. Seuss. The title, “One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird,” was inspired by Dr. Seuss’ 1960 children’s book “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.”
“One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird” features every editorial cartoon that Hill published last year, plus 26 pages of Hill’s verse and art parodying the work of Dr. Seuss.
“I tried to use that storyline to introduce each section of the book,” he said. “For example, five pages (of Dr. Seuss parodies) on climate change led into local ramifications of that.”
Hill, 60, also satirized the yellow cover of “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” by creating a similarly designed yellow cover for his book.
“One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird” is Hill’s fourth compilation of editorial cartoons, all published by Act 3, a media company specializing in business-to-business communications and book publishing.
The 150-page book was published in March.
A book launch event — both in person and on Zoom — is set for 5 to 7 pm May 24 at the Act 3 studio, located in the Fairhill Partners building at 12200 Fairhill Road in Cleveland.
As was the case in 2020, BB BluesBird — a character Hill created in 2004 — was featured in every editorial cartoon that Hill had published last year in the four Northeast Ohio newspapers that carry his work.
A managing partner at Act 3 since 2016, Hill had compiled every editorial cartoon from 2020 into his third book, “BB BluesBird and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year,” published in January 2021.
He said he continued featuring BB BluesBird — a plucky little avian who dreams of becoming a blues musician — in his cartoons because he likes him, and because his readers and editors have responded positively to the character.
“At the end of the day, you have to be happy and have fun with what you do,” he said. “So that’s why I’ve kept (BB BluesBird) around. And he’s continued so far (into this year).”
As was the case in Hill’s previous book, COVID-19 is a prevailing theme in his new compilation, as well. Other primary topics he covers include climate change, social justice and politics.
“The politics — the further divide between the right and the left — that has played heavily, especially after the Jan. 6 (insurrection),” he said.
Hill said his wife, Margie, suggested adding the pages of new material — parodying the work of Dr. Seuss — to the already-published editorial cartoons.
“We were working on the book (last fall), and Margie asked, ‘Are you going to write new stuff?’” he said. “And that’s where the idea came from.
“Otherwise, this book would have been substantially less in page count and impact.”
The book also includes a foreword by Mike Polk Jr., a Cleveland-based comedian and actor, and an introduction by Dave Coverly, cartoonist and creator of the single-panel comic “Speed Bump,” who lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The May 24 book launch will also feature an art show of 15 of Hill’s paintings of BB BluesBird. All of Hill’s books will be available for purchase. There will also be light refreshments, contests and giveaways.
One prize will be a newly published collection of every BB BluesBird web comic strip that Hill created with local cartoonist and comic book artist Gary Dumm in 2012 and 2013.
Those unable to attend in person can join via Zoom at 5:45 pm The Zoom link will be available on the home page of the Act 3 website, act3creative.com.
A Cleveland native, Hill grew up in Solon and has lived in the city since 1969. The Solon High School graduate has an associate’s degree in visual communications from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
Hill and Margie have three adult children and three granddaughters.
“One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird” retails for $19.95 and is available for purchase at the Act 3 website, Amazon and some independent local bookstores.
Read more from the Chagrin Solon Sun.