Green Eggs and Ham

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Green Eggs and Ham
Green Eggs and Ham.jpg
AuthorDr. Seuss
Cover artistDr. Seuss
CountryUnited States
SeriesBeginner Books
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherRandom House
The Living Books Company
Publication date
August 12, 1960
Preceded byOne Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
Followed byThe Sneetches and Other Stories

Green Eggs and Ham is a children's book by Dr. Seuss, first published on August 12, 1960. As of 2016, the book has sold 8 million copies worldwide.[1] The story has appeared in several adaptations starting with 1973's Dr. Seuss on the Loose starring Paul Winchell as the voice of both Sam-I-am and the first-person narrator.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

A character named "Sam-I-am" pesters his unnamed friend to try a plate of green eggs and ham. The friend refuses, responding, "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am." This becomes a refrain as Sam persistently follows his friend through an assortment of locations (house, box, car, tree, train, dark, rain, boat) and dining partners (mouse, fox, and goat). The friend finally gives in and tries the dish, just to shut Sam up, and finds it quite tasty, happily responding, "I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-am."


Green Eggs and Ham is one of Seuss's "Beginner Books", written in a very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary of the text consists of just 50 words[3] and was the result of a bet between Seuss and Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss's publisher,[3][4][5] that Seuss (after completing The Cat in the Hat using 236 words)[6] could not complete an entire book without exceeding that limit. The 50 words are: 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.[3]

Reception and cultural impact[edit]

Green Eggs and Ham was published on August 12, 1960.[7][8] By 2001, it had become the fourth-best selling English-language children's hardcover book of all time.[9][10] As of 2014, the book has sold 8 million copies. In 1999 the National Education Association (NEA) conducted an online survey of children and teachers, seeking the 100 most popular children's books. The children ranked Green Eggs and Ham third, just above another Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat.[11] The teachers ranked it fourth.[12] Teachers ranked it fourth again in a 2007 NEA poll.[13] Scholastic Parent & Child magazine placed it #7 among the "100 Greatest Books for Kids" in 2012.[14] That same year, it was ranked number 12 among the "Top 100 Picture Books" in a survey published by School Library Journal – the first of five Dr. Seuss books on the list.[15]

The book has become sufficiently ingrained in the cultural consciousness that U.S. District Court Judge James Muirhead referenced Green Eggs and Ham in his September 21, 2007 court ruling after receiving an egg in the mail from prisoner Charles Jay Wolff who was protesting against the prison diet. Muirhead ordered the egg destroyed and rendered his judgment in the style of Seuss.[16][17] Senator Ted Cruz read the book on the floor of the United States Senate during his filibuster over the funding over Obamacare.[18] Musician has stated that his moniker is inspired by the story.[19]

On September 29, 1991, following Dr. Seuss' death earlier that week, the Reverend Jesse Jackson recited an excerpt of Green Eggs and Ham on Saturday Night Live during a special tribute segment.[20]


Temporary ban[edit]

In 1965, a withdrawn source claimed that the book was banned in China for its "portrayal of early Marxism".[22] The ban was lifted in 1991, following Seuss' death.[23]

Selected translations[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Dr. Seuss on the Loose". IMDB. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "10 stories behind Dr. Seuss stories". CNN. January 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  4. ^ "Green Eggs and Ham". 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "99 Interesting Facts about the world #18". All That is Interesting. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ A 50 -year feast in 50 words Archived 2010-08-15 at the Wayback Machine., Marketplace. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Happy Birthday Sam-I-Am! 50 Years of Green Eggs and Ham". Gnews. 2012. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  9. ^ "All-Time Bestselling Children's Books". Publishers Weekly. 17 December 2001. Archived from the original on December 25, 2005.
  10. ^ Menand, Louis. "A Critic at Large: Cat People: What Dr. Seuss Really Taught Us". The New Yorker. 23 December 2002.
  11. ^ Kids' top 100 books Archived 2013-02-01 at the Wayback Machine. NEA: National Education Association. Retrieved 26 November 2006.
  12. ^ "Teachers' Top 100 Books". NEA: National Education Association. Retrieved 26 November 2006.
  13. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "Parent & Child 100 Greatest Books for Kids" (PDF). Scholastic Corporation. 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  15. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal ( Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  16. ^ "Judge makes 'Green Eggs and Ham' ruling". MSNBC.
  17. ^ "ORDER the egg filed by the plaintiff is to be destroyed re: 55 Motion for Contempt, injunction", Wolff v. NH Department of Corrections et al (Case 1:2006cv00321), September 18, 2007, Filing 56
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ [2] ABC News 2010
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 29, 2015). "Netflix Picks Up 'Green Eggs and Ham' Animated Series From Ellen DeGeneres". Deadline. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Banned Books Week: Green Eggs and Ham". New York Public Library. Retrieved December 2, 2013.

External links[edit]