This is a continuation of Part 1 – Children’s Books: from the Good to the Banned. We don’t have any banned books this week. Though I will admit to hiding a couple when Beloved Son was little – erroneously thinking “out of sight, out of mind” with regards to the book on construction equipment (bulldozers, back hoes, goose neck trailers, etc.) and perhaps the driest book ever written on the white tailed deer (something my mother picked up at a garage sale).
Speaking of my mother, I mentioned these articles to her and she promptly replied. “No. Your favorite book was Nibble, Nibble Mousekin by Joan Walsh Anglund.” And…she was right.
From Sharon Mostyn @sharonmostyn
Although I don’t read poetry very often now, two of my favorite books from childhood are both poetry books. My 3rd grade English teacher sat us all down around her and started telling us, “I went away last August, to a summer camp in Maine…” We were enthralled by her story and when she finished she brought out the book that she had memorized that poem from – Eat-It-All Elaine from “Piping Down The Valleys Wild” (my version was the green cover) – and I was HOOKED! I never realized that poems read aloud could be like having a conversation! That book was full of amazing historical and contemporary poets like Robert Louis Stevenson, A. A. Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame), Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Lewis Carroll (can you say Alice In Wonderland?), T. S. Elliott, and Shel Silverstein. Reading Shel’s poem in that anthology convinced me to buy all of his books. Like Apryl Hanson, I also loved “Where The Sidewalk Ends” and even bought the 30th anniversary edition for my children and sparked a love of poetry in them, too! It has been many (way too many) years since 3rd grade and I can still tell you about Elaine’s adventures in Cabin Number Three!
From Tracy Ready @TraceTV and @freelancesocial – Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. It was whimsical and fun to read, and the artwork was amazing. I could read it over and over again even though I knew how the story ended.
If you remember, there would only 2 characters – “Sam” and the unnamed suspect who refused to try green eggs and ham.
Sam was relentless. He attempted to serve green eggs and ham on a train, in the rain, in a box, with a fox, and on and on but the kid still wouldn’t try it. I guess it was the tenacity of Sam that I loved the most. He wouldn’t give up!
I also remember tracing my finger across the pictures of the train and seeing how it all connected. I wondered about the other people (and creatures) who were in the train, where they might be going and what they thought about green eggs and ham. The pictures and rhyming words stuck in my mind to a point where I found myself reading it again and again; even after my reading skills and vocabulary had far surpassed this tale. I just liked it.
Did I want to be Sam, cheerful and persistent, or the unnamed kid, skeptical and wary? Of course I wanted to be Sam. In the end the kid finally tried it and discovered he did like green eggs and ham, even though it looked weird.
Possibly my little boy self who liked gross stuff enjoyed the idea of green eggs as well. But I think overall, it was the drawings, the rhyming of the words and character of Sam that kept me hooked.
Interesting tidbit about the book from Wikipedia: Dr. Seuss won a bet with the publisher on this one. The bet was that he couldn’t write a story using only fifty different words; he did it with Green Eggs and Ham and won fifty bucks! How cool is that?