'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 26 September 2011

My Fave Dr Seuss Book: Hazel Edwards

Food and children’s books go together, especially at book launches or book week. It’s been said that ‘food is the sex of children’s books’. But food can also introduce a taste of a book.

Green Eggs and Ham is the Dr Seuss title I remember because of the green coloured eggs on the plate at the literary lunch. Each child had been asked to bring a plate of food to share which linked with the title of their favourite book.

One child had been a bit heavy-handed with the green food dye but I accepted a ‘taste’ because this boy didn’t read often. The rhythm and rhyme of Green Eggs and Ham had ‘got’ him into fun reading aloud, so he shared his book with me.

I have great respect for the writing of Dr Seuss. To use simple words, and a memorable rhythm in a deceptively simple structure and with humour is the goal of most children’s writers.

After writing The Cat in the Hat in 1955 using only 223 words, Dr Seuss bet his publisher that he could write a book using only 50 words. He did, in 1960 with the publication of Green Eggs and Ham. These are the 50 words used in the book:

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

But the words don’t work without the imagination of Dr Seuss in structuring them. That is the vital ingredient.

Authors enjoy a challenge. So do librarians. One imaginative librarian challenged their students to write a story using only the titles of as many of their favourite author’s books as possible but extra ‘and’ or ‘but’ or linking words were permitted. Then they brought plates of food to share, based on the titles on those books, or their favourite to read aloud.

Although I’m known for my cake-eating hippo (and lots of roof cakes) and Mum on Wheels with a ‘Mum’ deodorant between two wagon wheels chocolate biscuits, Green Eggs and Ham gets my vote.

Learn more about the food Hazel covers in her wonderful books at www.hazeledwards.com.