Green Eggs and Ham

Book cover for Green eggs and ham by Dr. SeussGreen Eggs and Ham
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)
New York: Beginning Books, A Division of Random House, 1960.

No library for a young person or an old one for that matter should be without a book by Dr. Seuss. I figured that someone had already gotten Elijah a copy of the classic The Cat in the Hat so I went with another classic The Sneetches and Other Stories.  I think each of his stories tries to gently and humorously teach us something. The Sneetches… carries a wonderful message about equality and tolerance.  It ends with “Sneetches are sneetches/ And no kind of sneetch is the best on the beach.”

Dr. Seuss accepted a challenge to write books for beginning readers.  When Elijah gets ready to learn to read, I hope he enjoys some of them like Hop on Pop and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  I hope he learns and remembers what Dr. Seuss wrote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  My hope is he learns to read well and goes far.

You will notice that I haven’t put a picture of The Sneetches and Other Stories in this blog, unfortunately I don’t have a copy of this book in my collection.  I want to share with you my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham.   I love this book!  I didn’t know you could eat in so many place and with such a variety of partners.

“I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
I do not like green eggs and ham”

How many times do we hear our own children say this about a food or food group? Do you think being as persistent as Sam-I-am would get a child to eat their vegetables or something else they are certain they don’t like?  Talk about wearing a person down.  Children need to experience all kinds of food, even the ones they don’t think they will like.  Sometime, we surprise them and serve up really tasty food. We instituted the “No Thank You” helping at our house.  I may have goaded a child with the “I do not like them, Sam-I-am.  I do not like green eggs and ham.” Every now and then it worked.

In our house we loved this story! Every so often we celebrate Dr. Seuss by reading the story and making green eggs and ham.  I hope someday Elijah will come and visit me and I can read him this story and make him green eggs and ham!

Dr. Seuss was a wonderful story maker for children.  Here’s my humble appreciation of his work.

Dr. Suess: An Appreciation

Dr. Seuss, for a cat in a hat and those fish red and blue,
Young readers and their parents are grateful to you!

Whimsical, colorful books that rhyme,
Made practicing reading a joy not a crime.

My girls loved to read you and practice they did,
With joy, glee, and humor and grins that weren’t hid.

Reading practice made fun with a fox in blue socks,
It wasn’t painful or laborious like breaking down rocks.

You took up the challenge to write for beginners,
Your astounding, comical books are winners.

So thank you good doctor for Green Eggs and Ham,
For Grinches and Sneetches and sly Sam-I-Am!

For practice you gave us silly, whimsy to read,
We thank you for writing to fill this need!

Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, MA on March 2, 1904 and died in La Jolla, CA on September 26, 1991.  He was educated at Dartmouth and majored in English.   He loved drawing and cartooning, but he was not formally trained.  He one and only art class was in high school and the art teacher didn’t think much of his talent¹.

I like to read about authors to find out what inspired them. Did they spend a lot of time in libraries?  Many of them did.  Theodor liked to read.  He learned to read early and was fascinated by words¹.  Dr. Seuss was inspired by trip to the Springfield Zoo².  I can make that connection! What wonderful fanciful creatures he created!  What wonderous, fantabulous books he left for us to enjoy.

In the early to mid-1950’s works like “Why Johnny Can’t Read…And What You Can Do About It” and “Why Do Student Bog Down on the First R” were circulating.  America was worried because children were having trouble learning to read.  Dr. Seuss was challenged by a publisher. Could he write a book using only words that were found in beginning readers?  Could he make it more entertaining that the Dick and Jane Primers that were currently in use? He rose to the occasion using 225 words to write The Cat in the Hat.   I have to say it is a much more entertaining work that the Dick and Jane series¹. I am so glad he took up this challenge.  The Cat in the Hat was just the first of many reading primers he wrote and illustrated.

Here are some facts I find fascinating about Dr. Seuss.

  1. His first book, And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected 27 times before it was accepted by a publisher. That shows real persistence!!!!
  2. Theodor Geisel was and advertising man.  Writing and copy and cartooning for products was his day job before he could devote himself to writing books for children³.
  3. Teddy Roosevelt gave him a lifelong case of stage fright³!

Websites for more information about Dr. Seuss.

¹http://www.anapsid.org/aboutmk/seuss.html

²http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0302.html

³https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/blogs/answer-sheet/post/six-things-you-probably-dont-know-about-dr-seuss/2012/03/02/gIQA1SVGnR_blog.html

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