Once upon a time when Kitty was still a little baby she was given a Dr Seuss book by her godfather and his lovely lady. They have excellent taste in children’s books and a number of their presents over the years have made it onto these pages, including Oh The Places You’ll Go! (how tiny was Elma back then) but it’s taken me a little while to explore any more Dr Seuss stories. They seem to be staples of every American childhood but they didn’t start to cross over here until I was long past picture books so they’re as new to me as they are to Kitty, Elma and Pip.
I’ve heard of the Cat in the Hat and I think I watched the first five minutes of the film once before turning over because I just really didn’t get it, and I’d heard of Green Eggs and Ham in that way where you’re sort of aware of another country’s cultural reference points but without really getting it. Perhaps it’s the same as if you tried to explain The Gruffalo to someone who doesn’t have it: “well there’s this mouse, and he tells fibs to get out of trouble and then they turn out to be true, so he fibs some more and then gets away with it – it’s a children’s classic!”
But I digress, back to the story that every small American has probably read and we should too.
We found Green Eggs and Ham in the library on our last visit and I plonked it in the ‘coming home with us’ pile without even skim reading it first on the basis that it would almost certainly be worth a read, and I’m so glad I did.
Green Eggs and Ham is just so terribly familiar to any parent of small children. Because the grumpy grouch is absolutely adamant that he does not like green eggs and ham, not one little bit, not at all, and however much Sam-I-am tries to persuade him to eat it, offering different venues, different companions and even different weather conditions, he will not eat it. I can’t be the only parent who’s had a conversation with a small offspring along the lines of:
“could you sit down please, it’s time for supper.”
“I don’t like it!”
“What do you think we’re having for supper?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t like it!”
And it did make me chuckle as I read; because of course the grouch hasn’t ever actually tried green eggs and ham and as soon as he has a taste with the aim of getting Sam to go away and leave him alone he discovers that he loves it and he can’t get enough. Sound familiar?
In my girls’ defence they are on the whole pretty adventurous eaters and will try most things, even if it has to be presented a few times first, but a little subliminal messaging will never go amiss, especially if it comes with tongue twisting rhymes and Dr Seuss’ distinctive illustrations.
And I’ve finally got the context of the Germaine Greer clip on Dead Ringers from years ago. I’ve just got one more mystery to solve – is will.i.am copying Dr Seuss?
Last week Jess and Rosalie discovered one of Usborne’s baby books, the Touchy Feely Fingertrail Playbook which I have duly bookmarked for Pip’s birthday in the summer. I love Usborne’s tactile books, we have the colours one and they’re always so much fun and there’s lots and lots to discover on each page.
What We’re Reading is a weekly link up of posts about children’s books. That’s about as far as the ‘rules’ go; it can be picture books, baby books, books for older children or even young adult if you like; just come and join us to tell us what you’ve been reading recently. The linky is always open for a week so there’s plenty of time to join in, or if you’d rather join in on Instagram or Twitter that would be wonderful too, just use the hashtag #whatweread and tag me (@cariemay on Instagram and @cariemaymakes on Twitter) and then we can all come and say hi.