My Dr. Seuss moment came to me when I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to my daughter’s Pre-K class on Green Day. Green Day of course being the day the entire class got to dress all out from head to toe in the color green, hear the story Green Eggs and Ham, and eat green eggs and ham to celebrate learning the letter G. And I had the priveledge to be the Mystery Reader for the class that day.
If you want to write for children you’ve probably been told not to try rhyming unless you’re brilliant at it, or to study how brilliant Dr. Seuss‘ books are. Childrens book author and poet Richard Michelson even mentions Dr. Seuss in his dos and don’ts advice to aspiring childrens book writers in his interview on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. But my moment didn’t come from thinking ‘Surely I can rhyme like that’, it came from watching the children as I read the book aloud. It came from Sam I Am’s relentless pursuit of his friend to try those green eggs and ham. The more he tried to get his friend to eat that strange food, the more excited the kids got.
And while they had all heard the story before, they were excited by every page turn, so much so that one little boy yelled out in exasperation, “Oh, I need him to try those green eggs and ham!”
As the story built and all of those wonderful Dr. Seuss characters looked on to see if Sam’s friend would, after so much protest, put a bite in his mouth the kids could hardly contain themselves. And when he finally did put that bite in his mouth the whole Pre-K class began to clap. I was completely surprised by their reaction and I loved it! It’s a moment I hope I don’t forget on my own journey of creating childrens books.