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Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham is a children's book by Dr. Seuss, first published on August 12, 1960. As of 2016, the book has sold 8 million copies worldwide. The story has appeared in several adaptations starting with 1973's Dr. Seuss on the Loose starring Paul Winchell as the voice of both Sam-I-am and the first-person narrator.

Plot summary

The story follows an unnamed character who does not like green eggs and ham and his adversary Sam-I-Am who wants him to eat it. The story becomes a refrain as Sam persistently follows his rival through an assortment of locations (in a house, in a box, in a car, in a tree, on a train, in the dark, in the rain, on a boat) and dining partners (a mouse, a fox, and a goat). The character finally gives in and tries the dish, just to make Sam “let him be”, and finds it quite tasty, happily responding, "I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-am."


Green Eggs and Ham is one of Seuss's "Beginner Books", written with very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary of the text consists of just 50 words and was the result of a bet between Seuss and Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss's publisher, that Seuss (after completing The Cat in the Hat using 236 words) could not complete an entire book without exceeding that limit. The 50 words 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.

Reception and cultural impact

Green Eggs and Ham was published on August 12, 1960. By 2001, it had become the fourth-best selling English-language children's hardcover book of all time. As of 2014, the book has sold 8 million copies. In 1999 the National Education Association (NEA) conducted an online survey of children and teachers, seeking the 100 most popular children's books. The children ranked Green Eggs and Ham third, just above another Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat. The teachers ranked it fourth. Teachers ranked it fourth again in a 2007 NEA poll. Scholastic Parent & Child magazine placed it #7 among the "100 Greatest Books for Kids" in 2012. That same year, it was ranked number 12 among the "Top 100 Picture Books" in a survey published by School Library Journal – the first of five Dr. Seuss books on the list.

The book has become sufficiently ingrained in the cultural consciousness that U.S. District Court Judge James Muirhead referenced Green Eggs and Ham in his September 21, 2007 court ruling after receiving an egg in the mail from prisoner Charles Jay Wolff who was protesting against the prison diet. Muirhead ordered the egg destroyed and rendered his judgment in the style of Seuss. Senator Ted Cruz read the book on the floor of the United States Senate during his filibuster over the funding over Obamacare. Musician has stated that his moniker is inspired by the story.

On September 29, 1991, following Dr. Seuss' death earlier that week, the Reverend Jesse Jackson recited an excerpt of Green Eggs and Ham on Saturday Night Live during a special tribute segment.


  • Green Eggs and Ham is the third of the three Geisel stories that were adapted into the television special Dr. Seuss on the Loose, which featured a connecting narration by The Cat In The Hat, in 1973. (The Sneetches and The Zax were the other two.)
  • The character also appeared in Fox in Socks with a few changes to him, such as no hat.
  • The song "Green Eggs and Ham" was recorded by the band Moxy Früvous on their 1992 independent debut album Moxy Früvous and is a rap treatment of the famous story.
  • The book was also made into a Living Books adaptation for the PC and there were similar differences to reflect the new media such as Sam-I-Am sings his opening lines.
  • An upcoming animated television series based on the book, Green Eggs and Ham, will premiere on Netflix in 2019, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, A Very Good Production, A Stern Talking To, Random House Children's Entertainment and Gulfstream Television and distributed by Warner Bros. Television.
  • The book was also featured as one of the segments brought to life via live-action in a stage-play fashion in the 1994 TV film In Search of Dr. Seuss.
  • In VHS/DVD, The book had included two other stories, The Tooth Book & Ten Apples Up On Top.

Selected translations

  • לֹא רָעֵב וְלֹא אוֹהֵב (Lo ra'ev ve-lo ohev, 1960, Hebrew ISBN 9789652294661)
  • Huevos verdes con jamón (1960, Spanish, ISBN 1880507013)
  • Groene eieren met ham (1960s, Dutch, ISBN 9024002966)
  • 火腿加綠蛋 (Huǒ tuǐ jiā lǜ dàn, 1992, Chinese, ISBN 9573211254)
  • Prosciutto e uova verdi (2002, Italian, ISBN 880902446X)
  • Virent ova! Viret perna! (2003, Latin, ISBN 0865165556)
  • Kto zje zielone jajka sadzone? (2004, Polish, ISBN 8372781249)
  • Les œufs verts au jambon (2009, French, ISBN 9781569756881)
  • Grünes Ei mit Speck (2011, German, ISBN 9783596854417)


External links

  • Claasen, Lynda (16 January 2015). How Dr. Seuss Created Green Eggs and Ham (Video).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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