Is Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories the first children's book to use "burp"?

As said by Dr. Seuss himself about that book:

"'I used the word burp, and nobody had ever burped before on the pages of a children's book. It took a decision from the president of the publishing house before my vulgar turtle was permitted to do so.'"

Stefan Kanfer (October 7, 1991). "The Doctor Beloved by All". TIME. ISSN 0040-781X.

  • It's entirely possible that he was exaggerating for humorous effect. The publishing house was so stuffy and hide-bound that they acted as if it were the first. Besides, how could anyone discover the truth? Most children's books, like most books, have vanished.
    – Mary
    Oct 27, 2022 at 0:17
  • I'd be interested to see counter-examples. From Seuss's account, definitely sounds as if he was extrapolating from a genuine disagreement with the publishers to an imaginary claim about being first to burp. The first use of "burp" in writing of any kind was in 1932 according to Etymonline. Google Books has a lot of results from the 1940s although none is obviously a children's book. (It may well occur in books for older children pre-Yertle.)
    – Stuart F
    Oct 31, 2022 at 13:56
  • Burp as a surname and "burp gun" appear to be older. Sadly Google Books doesn't seem to cover children's books well.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 31, 2022 at 14:01


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