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Green Eggs and Ham Hardcover – August 12, 1960
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This timeless Dr. Seuss classic was first published in 1960, and has been delighting readers ever since. Sam-I-am is as persistent as a telemarketer, changing as many variables as possible in the hopes of convincing the nameless skeptic that green eggs and ham are a delicacy to be savored. He tries every manner of presentation with this "nouveau cuisine"--in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox, with a goat, on a boat--to no avail. Then finally, finally the doubter caves under the tremendous pressure exerted by the tireless Sam-I-am. And guess what? Well, you probably know what happens, but even after reading Green Eggs and Ham the thousandth time, the climactic realization that green eggs and ham are "so good, so good, you see" is still a rush. As usual, kids will love Dr. Seuss's wacky rhymes and whimsical illustrations--and this time, they might even be so moved as to finally take a taste of their broccoli. (Ages 4 to 8)
"Limited vocabulary but unlimited exuberance of illustration."--School Library Journal.
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I usually like Dr. Seuss books, but this book got ruined by the message.
They are fun to read, fun to hear and they really bring out a lot of imagination! Kids love reading and listening to these silly "tongue-twisting" books! I'm not alone in my high recommendation!
Green Eggs & Ham I'd simply delightful :) This book came as a specific request from my 5 yr old girl, who has been awaiting it's arrival anxiously.... a whole 2 days is like a year to kids lol and today it came... we opened it and read it immediately... four times lol
These books make kids WANT to read! & thst, in my opinion, is the best part!
This book was delivered through prime and cost was low. Thumbs up all around, and a must-have for any kids bookcase :)
Ps... 2 pics posted... 2nd is blurry, but the book is not lol just a bad shot
It's well-written. It's well-rhymed. It's funny. The pictures are amusing. But the story basically boils down to this: a character, who is never named, is sitting reading a newspaper. This other guy, Sam, keeps rushing by him with signs on various animals, annoying him, and it's unclear why Sam's doing it, and then he offers the main character green eggs and ham. The main character replies that he doesn't like them, at which point Sam begins a litany of questions at this guy. "Would you like them here or there?" "Would you like them in a house?" "Would you like them in a car?" Sam just follows the guy around, going through these ridiculous situations, trying to get him to eat this frankly moldy-looking food. At the end, they end up falling in the ocean (I think) with the main character, again, vehemently denying that he likes this food, like he's got some kind of thing to prove about it or something, and then Sam finally suggests to the main character that he try them. The main character says, "If you will let me be/I will try them, you will see." Basically, "If eating this food is what it takes to get you to leave me alone and stop destroying my life with all this random crap going on, I will." And then he eats them, and he likes them.
I think it's supposed to be a metaphor for trying to get children to try new foods, because children will often deny that they like something without ever having tried it. Most adults don't claim to dislike a food before they've ever tried it. I guess children do sometimes come up with strange rules about when and where they will eat certain things (and I guess I do know of at least one adult who refuses to eat hot dogs unless she is at a baseball game). Taken in that light, it makes a lot of sense. Taken the way the world works for adults, it's basically one person harassing another person, until they consume dangerous-looking food. That would be like chasing somebody around, practically assaulting them with animals and vehicles, until they agree to eat leftover tuna that's been in the fridge for who knows how long.
Again, as I said, if you take it from the perspective that a child will likely take it, I'm probably reading too much into it. A child will look at it and think, "Oh, there's a lot of food I don't like, and my parents sometimes resort to ridiculous lengths in order to get me to eat food that I claim to not like, and it sometimes turns out that I like it," so I think they'll identify with that. I guess the important part is that the main character does like it.
But there's no real reason given in the story for Sam to be an authority on food. In fact, in the beginning the main character says he doesn't even like Sam. There's no reasons given for anything in this book, at all. You can make up your own reason. You can say that Sam is trying to give the main character a gift of something that Sam really, really, likes, knowing it's not dangerous, but declines to explain that to the main character. And the main character thinks it looks dangerous, but declines to explain that to Sam. Despite the entire text being dialogue, there's not enough communication going on in this book. It kind of reminds me of the conversations I have with my own toddlers, so I guess it's accurate.
The message is kind of mixed from a modern perspective. Again, the book is very well written, the rhymes are excellent, and the meter is impeccable. Dr. Seuss: great writer. I'm just not sure I agree with the message of this book.
Message: Try new foods. Or, if you keep annoying somebody enough, they'll give in to what you're asking for.
For more children's book reviews, see my website at drttmk dot com.
The anonymity of the protagonist speaks of his lack of personal existential identity or lack of spiritual fulfilment that results from his pursuit of ordinary modern life. The modernistic lifestyle requires, prescribes, and enforces standard, conventionalized modes of thought, such as insisting on standard eggs and ham, and deeming deviations from the norm as distasteful and to be avoided, a pirori, even though pursuit of non-orthodox forms of meaning in modern society might actually lead one to the fulfilment that one might be seeking as a lonely, nameless person. One might benefit from embracing the unconventional, but modern society has taught us to simply accept what everyone else likes and accepts and values, and we are unable to find happiness outside of the lonely conventional framework that the modern world imposes upon us. Thus, we are nameless, devoid of identity, and unable to see that the unconventional might actually impart meaning and joy to our otherwise mundane and futile existence.
In various mythologies, eggs denote fertility, and thus, new life and rebirth. Ham may indicate a strong source of nourishment and gustatory pleasure, but also, what was once ceremonially forbidden under older religious codes, but is now allowable (it is not clear to me if this change in religious dietary restrictions is a relevant part of the existential analogy that the author is attempting to convey, though). Both are rendered as green - verdant, the color of spring, life, nature, and growth. The religious symbolism is very apparent here, and perhaps also the author is playing with Jungian archetypes here to set up the religious existential elements. The food items being offered are not just a physical enjoyment or pursuit, but something of spiritual value, leading to renewal, growth, and sustenance at this higher level of existence. The protagonist rejects this offer outright, not realizing their spiritual benefits, not recognizing the higher level of existence and life to which he is called. He remains confined to the purely physical realm that he knows and understanding, refusing to recognize or embrace what lies beyond the material.
The protagonist declares he would not eat them here or there; in a house or with a mouse; in a box or with a fox; in a boat or with a goat; or in other localities or with other modes of transport, such as in a car, in the dark, in a plane, in the rain, and so forth. He rejects the pursuit of this nourishment in various modalities of modern life, in various locales, and in various social settings (with mice, foxes, goats, or even at home alone). The character dismisses pursuit of a lifestyle deemed unorthodox by modern or post-modern society in any locale or social realization. He refuses to think outside the box ("not in a box, not with a fox"), confining himself to his mere material existence. A sort of literary merism is employed here (part-whole metaphors that denote entirety, such as "day and night" meaning "all the time" in poetry). He excludes the possibility of eating it "here or there or anywhere" - an emphatic merism - or an any locality, or any mode of transport, that is, in any path of life, or going about his mundane, meaningless daily routine, he still rejects the offer. In whatever social circle, be it with creatures deemed dirty such as mice, or probably even alone at home - at home by himself in his existential despair, angst, and loneliness, in the location where he is most comfortable and most "himself" - he would reject this offer. In doing so, he also rejects the sharing of something substantive and spiritual with other social companions, and would instead prefer to be home or otherwise alone, accepting and (in a philosophically perverse way) enjoying his conventionalized, lonely, angst-driven life that modern society has imposed.
Sam continues to offer the unusual, greenish manna, and finally the protagonist relents and tries it. He undergoes a personal epiphany and spiritual transformation. He goes beyond his conventional existence and experiences for the first time an unconventional fulfillment. He has taken an existential leap of faith into something higher and deeper, rejecting hollow social norms and the materialistic values that society offers. He receives the new gift, the new enjoyment, with great joy and enthusiasm, and declare his desire to consume the product anywhere and everywhere, in whatever locale or social context, in whatever path of life (train, car, plane...) he finds himself. Thus, he makes a full commitment to that which lies beyond the material, conventional existence that humans know by nature, and fully and whole-heartedly embraces a radically different set of values and avenue of fulfilment.
Sam, as the one constantly offering the new experience, always begging him, always probing for a new situation or context (in boxes or houses, with fox or mice...) in which he might be willing to open his mind, serves a crucial mentor role. In fact, as such, and as one implying a self-existence with "Sam I Am", he serves as a literary Christ-figure or Christ-type. The nameless protagonist undergoes a spiritual and existential change, growth, and renewal. As such, he functions as an existential type of hero, one that undergoes an internal spiritual or personal transformation, takes a leap of faith, and finds a greater fulfllment beyond mundane social expectations. As an existential experience, it is perhaps hard for the reader to understand why such chromatically differentiated foodstuffs would become so enjoyable, so worthy of such enthusiastic embrace, that it is something that only one who personally experiences it, such as our hero here, can understand, and can only partially communicate to others. Likewise, the literary Christ-figure Sam could only offer it and express descriptively and experientially, not propositionally, about the desirability of the food items - a benefit that the hero was not capable of understanding or accepting until he himself tried it.
This existential leap of faith is perhaps reminiscent of Pascal's wager, wherein Blaise Pascal claimed that sometimes one comes to the point where one cannot accept or psychologically apprehend propositional truth about matters of faith, but one can only take a leap of faith, try faith oneself, try it experientially, before one can actually understand it or come to grips with it, in order to determine its reality and validity.