Welcome to a new series on Cardiff Mummy Says – Book of the Week. Like a lot of families, we love to read in our house and have been doing so with our three children since they were tiny newborns. We must have read thousands of books over the five and a half years since we became parents – a combination of books borrowed from our local libraries, charity shop bargains, ones we’ve bought or my children have been given as presents – but there are definite firm favourites we come back to time and again. I’m often being asked by friends to suggest books for their little ones, so I thought I’d share some of our recommendations here. First up, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss.
Green Eggs and Ham tells the tale of Sam-I-Am and an unnamed narrator, as the rather pushy Sam-I-Am tries to convince his friend to try the green eggs and ham of the title. The grumpy creature is adamant he doesn’t like green eggs and ham. But through punchy, fast-paced rhyme, Sam tries to convince him otherwise. He challenges him to eat them in a house, with a mouse, with a fox, in a box, in the dark, on a train, in a car, in a tree, and many other places, the verses slowly building with the repetition. However, the creature maintains he “would not, could not” eat them under any circumstances, until finally, he is persuaded to try them and – would you believe it? – it turns out he does like green eggs and ham after all! And he would eat them in a boat, with a goat, in the dark, on a train, in a car, in a tree and all the other places he had previously insisted he wouldn’t.
Fast-paced and fun, Green Eggs and Ham is one of the best-selling children’s books of all time and still a classic a good 55 years after it was first published. Amazingly, it came about after a bet between Dr Seuss and his publisher, Bennett Cerf. Cerf challenged Seuss to write a book that used fewer than the 225 he used in possibly his most famous book, The Cat In The Hat.
Green Eggs and Ham has just 50 words – 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.
It’s perfect for young readers – and a lot more interesting than some of those awfully dull books that get sent home from school. That said, my children loved it from very early on, after we invested in a collection of 15 Dr Seuss books for £15 from The Book People when Little Miss E, my eldest was about 3. This set isn’t always available on the site, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for it.
It’s also a good investment if you have fussy eaters in your house. In fairness, my children pretty much eat anything. But occasionally they declare that they don’t like something on their plate. Reciting this rhyme and substituting green eggs and ham for whatever they’re turning their noses up at, always does the job. In fact, sometimes they pretend not to like food just so we can say the rhyme.
And it works on adults too. Until earlier this year, I thought I didn’t like pear. My children chanted this rhyme at me, I practiced what I preached, and it so happened, I did like pear.
You can read all of my posts on children’s books here.
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