30 novels, day 7: Fifty words

30 novels, day 7: Green Eggs and Ham

I am Tom.
Tom I am.
I do so love Green Eggs and Ham.

(Okay, technically I suppose one can’t call this a novel, but when I was a child and just learning to read this book seemed gigantic to me. It was an epic adventure. It had mystery, conflict, animals, travel, a plucky, persistent hero, and a startling transformation at the end. And everything rhymed. Magically, wonderfully, ridiculously, everything in the world rhymed. It started with this unnamed … whatever he is … sitting reading in a chair in front a big blue wall. Is he inside? Outside? Hard to tell. Then along comes Sam-I-am, acrobatically standing on the backs of strange creatures, with his signs and his one-track mind about green eggs and ham, and he will not let it go. Sam-I-am is going to pursue this guy to the ends of the earth if that’s what it takes to get him to try green eggs and ham. And just look at how far Sam-I-am and Whatshisname end up going. Look at the stuff that happened to them on the way. The wild ride in the car. The train. The spooky tunnel. The boat. The almighty plunge and crash into the ocean that no one seems to mind, not the people on the train, or the boat, or the animals, everyone is smiling as train and boat and animals hurtle into the water. And Sam-I-am and Whatshisname don’t even notice, they’re still so intent on their mighty contest of wills and words, but at last Whatshisname (did he ever have a name? Did Dr Seuss know what his name was?) gives in and tries the green eggs and ham, which by this time I always thought must be cold and wet and briny from falling into the sea, and yet the guy eats the stuff -- a green egg??? Yuck! -- and likes it. And everyone is happy. And then I had to read it again, to let the spell of the words fall over me one more time. And again and again. And from here I could go on to read bigger books, harder books, books with more than fifty different words, books without rhymes, without pictures, drawn on by the mystery of language and story.) 

The fifty words: 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.

No comments: