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Book Review: “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was the pseudonym of the beloved children’s writer Theodor Seuss Geisel. His works have taught generations of children how to read, feel, and think (Go, 2019). Dr. Seuss’s books are instantly recognizable because they feature a simple plot told in an extremely original matter with delightful wordplay and imaginative illustrations. Green Eggs and Ham was originally written for a fifty-dollar wager but are now a staple of American children’s classics (Sahadeo, 2021). Green Eggs and Ham represents the quintessence of Dr. Seuss’ work due to its clarity, dynamism, and resonant life lessons.

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Firstly, the book is easy to follow for beginning readers because it features a simple plot and limited vocabulary. It recounts the story of Sam-I-Am convincing another character to try a plate of green eggs and ham. Sam-I-Am is continually rebuffed in various locations in front of multiple animals until the other character finally agrees to sample the dish and happily finds out he enjoys it. The book’s simple premise means it is not overwhelming for children only learning how to follow a story. The involvement of imaginary creatures, numerous animals, and different locations also makes it entertaining. Furthermore, only fifty different words are used throughout the book and repeated several times to fully ingrain them in the minds of young readers. Green Eggs and Ham has become a best-selling book because it is a useful educational tool for parents who want to teach their children how to read.

Secondly, although the book is repetitive, it never becomes boring due to a certain elusive dynamism. There is a unique percussive pleasure to the rhythm of Dr. Seuss’s poems: “that Sam-I-am! That Sam-I-am! I do not like that Sam-I-am!” (Seuss, 1960, p. 5). The repetition follows a certain beat as if the words should be chanted with a drum accompaniment. This musical quality makes the book a real page-turner both for adults and children because the reader is seduced by the rhythm and motivated to follow it along to the end. The characters’ illustrations further express the dynamism. They seem to inhabit the pages more fully than in any other children’s book — they stomp off into the corner of the page, appear from the side, and fall from the top. While they are minimalist in terms of color and lines, they are not static. Due to the author’s expressive and fluid drawing style, Sam-I-Am, and his friend appear to move around freely and fully interact with their environment. The dynamism of Dr. Seuss’ text and illustrations makes the book extremely engaging and interesting for children.

Thirdly, Green Eggs and Ham even has a meaningful message for readers by the end. When the unnamed character finally deigns to try the eggs and ham, he realizes that he has wasted his time avoiding Sam-I-Am: “say! I like green eggs and ham!” (Seuss, 1960, p. 30). This is an entertaining twist on the surface and a deeply impactful meditation on the importance of challenging your preconceptions. Not being afraid of trying new things is a valuable lesson for children and a useful reminder for adults. Many children’s books moralize so overbearingly that adults often roll their eyes. However, the lesson in Green Eggs and Ham is delivered in a quite understated manner, leaving enough space for readers to grasp its importance independently.

In conclusion, Green Eggs and Ham deserves its iconic status because it is a uniquely dynamic and meaningful work despite its simplicity. It starts with a very simple premise and consists of only fifty words. However, it remains entertaining because there is a pleasurable musical quality to Dr. Seuss’ poems, and his illustration style gives the impression that the characters are about to jump off the pages. Furthermore, it has a valuable lesson on the importance of experience in challenging beliefs. Green Eggs and Ham will continue to be a hallmark in American children’s literature because it is educational, entertaining, and emotionally resonant for both adults and young readers.


Dr. Seuss. (1960). Green Eggs and Ham. Random House. Web.

Go, I-H. (2019). How Dr. Seuss changed education in America. The New Yorker. Web.

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Sahadeo, A. (2021). Dr. Seuss’ best-selling books, from ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ to ‘Cat in the Hat’. Fox Business. Web.

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