Tuesday, October 5, 2010

50 Years, 50 Words, 50 Bucks

The year 2010 is the 50th anniversary of yet another early-reader classic, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Geisel). First published on August 12, 1960, the early reader has gone on to become one of the top-selling children's books of all time. Green Eggs and Ham came about because of a challenge issued by publisher Bennett Cerf, who bet Seuss that he wouldn't be able to write a book using only 50 words. (The Cat in the Hat, written in 1955, has 223 words.) The rest, as they say, is history. Not only did Seuss spin a fantastical 50-word tale about a reluctant eater who refuses to sample a dish of green eggs and ham pushed on him by the persistent Sam-I-Am, he did so using 49 monosyllabic words. (The exception is "anywhere.") Cerf paid Seuss $50, but the real winners are the thousands of children (and I include myself here) who cut their reading teeth on this delightful book.

Happy anniversary, Green Eggs and Ham!

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