TUESDAY TRIVIA: The Inspiration for Dr. Seuss’ ‘Green Eggs and Ham’

You might be surprised at what drove Dr. Seuss to write many of his books.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, wrote many children’s books that nearly all of us are familiar with. But you might be surprised at the drive behind much of his work.

According to several sources, in response to an article published by Life magazine, a publisher challenged Geisel to write a book that first-graders could read on their own and that held their attention. The article, “Why Do Students Bog Down on First R? A Local Committee Sheds Light on a National Problem: Reading,” basically claimed that the books schools used to teach children to read were boring and included characters that were not relatable.

Dr. Seuss produced “The Cat in the Hat,” using only 236 different words, all of them taken from an average first-grader’s vocabulary list.

He followed with numerous books that used even fewer words.

His book “Green Eggs and Ham” was inspired by a bet between Geisel and another publisher. According to The Art of Dr. Seuss project, the published bet Geisel he wouldn’t write an articulate, entertaining book using only fifty different words. “Green Eggs and Ham” included 49 monosyllabic words and a fiftieth three-syllable word “anywhere.”

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