Pros: Few simple words used creatively, fun and memorable story, creative and fun illustrations, catchy rhymes.
That was the quote from this book that an engineer at my former employer used when he was annoyed with another employee named Sam. That is just one of hundreds of useful and memorable quotes from the Dr. Seuss books.
Green Eggs and Ham and other Dr. Seuss books are widely read in the United States and I'll bet every American has read this book. Despite that fact these books were completely new to me when I started reading them with my young kids here in America (I am originally from Sweden). I immediately thought these books were great. These books feature simple but fun stories, silly but creative and imaginative illustrations and creatures, and the stories are told via catchy musical rhymes. His writing style could be considered children's poetry and he typically wrote his rhymes following poetic meters, particularly the anapestic tetrameter, which consist of four rhythmic units composed of two weak beats followed by one strong beat.
As mentioned we've read these books with our kids when they were young and these books really helped them learn how to read. The kids are no longer interested in these books but we still have them and I bought them for my nieces in Sweden, especially this book Green Eggs and Ham. Just like a child can use these books to learn how to read, a young child can use them to learn English. I believe the reason these books are not as well known outside of the United States, is because rhymes and poetry is extremely difficult to translate. Typically the charm and subtle meanings of poetry is lost in translation, as well as the rhymes.
Could You Would You on a Train?
Green Eggs and Ham is probably his best known book and I found it to be quite a bit of fun myself despite its simplicity.
The book begins with a fellow (Sam) standing on a strange creature which is running around. The fellow on the creature holds a sign that says "I am Sam". Sam then tries to convince a character to try green eggs and ham. However, he does not want to try them and he does not like Sam.
I do not like green eggs and ham
I do not like them, Sam-I-am
I do not like them here or there
I do not like them anywhere.
However, Sam insists and wants him to try it on a train, with a fox, in a tree, etc. Well you probably know the rest of the story.
The reading level of Green Eggs and Ham is very basic. Despite the fact that the book has 62 pages, most of them with rhymes, it contains only 50 repeatedly reused words of which 49 are one syllable words. The word "anywhere" is the only difficult word in the book. The fact that the words are simple and easy to read and often repeated, combined with the fact that the interesting illustrations assist the reader in guessing the words makes this an excellent beginners book. A kid who has just learned the phonetics of simple syllables can find himself reading an entire book. If I don't remember incorrectly our oldest son read this book at the age of three.
I personally find the book fun to read. That may seem immature, but I have a certain admiration for the simple but creative rhymes and the humor filled and creative illustrations. In my experience, a parent reading this book to their child will not be bored, unless he has read it several dozens of times. The same is true for when the child is reading to the parent.
Since it is poetry month and this book features simple poetry I would to like to add it to Befus' the National Poetry Month Write-Off.
I would also like to add it to my "Celebrate America" Write-Off, Talyseon/Dusty/Becky's "Made in the USA" write-off and Bilbopooh's Tales to Warm Your Mind Write-Off.