Green Eggs and Ham

Theodor Seuss Geisel, born March 2, 1904 was an American writer and cartoonist best known for his classic children’s books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. His books have become staples for many children and their parents. Among Dr. Seuss' trademarks were his rhyming text and his outlandish creatures. He wrote and illustrated 44 children's books.

GREEN EGGS AND HAM is a best-selling book by Dr. Seuss, first published in 1960. It is one of Seuss’s “Beginner Books” written in a very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary consists of just fifty different words of which 49 consist of a single syllable (cat, hat, etc.). The lone exception being “anywhere”. So, when a
beginning reader masters these 50 words, he or she is able to read a book. A great accomplishment and source of pride for the beginning reader.

The book has two main characters, Sam and his friend who is never named.
Sam is filled with energy and enthusiasm; the other character is moody and irritable. The plot of the story revolves around Sam’s efforts to get his friend to try “green eggs and ham”. The friend refuses to taste the dish and only wants to be left alone. But, Sam is insistent, and goes through an assortment of locations, a house, a car, a tree and with several dining partners, trying to persuade his friend to eat. But the friend still won’t try the green eggs and ham.

The conclusion of Seuss’s tale occurs when Sam’s friend, standing in shallow water after a train crash, finally agrees to try green eggs and ham, and pronounces it to be quite good.

The story is written in the form of a cumulative tale, with a list of circumstances which gradually increase as the story progresses. One of Sam’s friend’s refusals goes:

I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I do not like them in a boat.
I do not like them with a goat.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

The fifty words used in GREEN EGGS AND HAM are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

Sam-I-Am and his friend are ambiguous creatures; they are capable of being interpreted in more than one way. They are furry with large snouts, but stand upright, can speak and have human facial expressions.

Sam-I-Am’s friend wears a tall black hat that imitates his body language; it startles, cringes, rises up indignantly, etc. when it’s owner does.

The book includes many of Dr. Seuss’s amazing elaborate machines; a complex platter-presenting device, large artificial hands on poles to illustrate Here and There, a vehicle with a mysteriously-appearing door from which a goat emerges, and a really rickety railroad viaduct.