In a couple of months we will celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday (which I think would be a really cool national holiday!) When thinking about the author who has brought so much joy to the world in general, and me specifically I can’t help but recall a memorable Dr Seuss related incident that took place during my teaching days.
I am of course a big big fan of Dr Seuss! As such I always made it a point to share my love of all his classic works with my preschoolers (whether they liked it or not!) My bookshelf was stacked with all my favorites and I spent many a story time reading them to my kids. Eventually the Dr. Seuss vibe would spread and the kids would get excited when it was time for one of the books to be read.
One of my kids’ favorites was Green Eggs and Ham. They may have loved it because of the silly characters, the dynamic rhyming scheme or the fact that I read it to them like 14,000 times. In any case it was indeed a classroom favorite.
Interesting side story here, but Dr. Seuss actually wrote Green Eggs and Ham as a bet with a friend. He was talking to a friend about writing, and the friend bet him he couldn’t write a book with just 50 distinct words. Sure enough he wrote Green Eggs and Ham which only has 50 words (repeated throughout the book)
Anyway, love of the book became so wide spread that kids started to talk in rhyme, made pictures and other works of art based on the book, and constantly requested that I read it to them. One day I got a very cool idea. During circle time, I asked the kids if they would like to make actual green eggs and ham as a cooking project. The response was amazing! The kids were very excited and wanted to start the project right then and there!I told them we would do it the next day and joy filled the room. For the rest of the day, making green eggs and ham was the topic of conversation.
Finally the big day arrived. I had the ham, the eggs, the food coloring to make the eggs green and 15 preschoolers eager to help out. After a lot of prep work including hand washing, apron tying, more hand washing, and a speech about not using the eggs for anything other than cooking, we got to work. Eggs were cracked, eggs were scrambled, eggs were thrown (not everyone listened to the speech), and then the magic happened. With a few drops of blue food coloring, the mixture was turned green, and their minds were blown. They were amazed and totally excited for the final product.
My assistant teachers took the kids to the playground as I went to the center’s kitchen to do the cooking. When I was finished, I put out a plate with green eggs and a piece of ham for everyone and awaited their arrival. They came in from outside and I said their green eggs and ham was served. I expected shrieks of joy and kids rushing to eat their Dr Seuss themed snack. Instead, I got looks of horror and revulsion as they saw what awaited them. The majority of them refused to eat it and wouldn’t even go near it. Only three brave souls sat down at the table, and of them only one actually ate the green eggs. Not being one to waste food, I ate pretty much the entire snack myself. I asked my assistants for help, but they had the same reaction as the kids so I had to go it alone.
As I sat there later that day in pain from eating more eggs in one sitting than should be allowed, I realized that to a 5 year old the concept of green eggs is much more appealing than the real thing. In the book they look like something you would eat with a goat or on a train or in the rain, but right in front of you they look like breakfast gone horribly wrong.
I never attempted to repeat the Green Eggs and Ham cooking project during my teaching days, and if ever the thought crossed my mind I remembered all the eggs and picked up a safer book like “Hop on Pop” instead