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 2019, 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, Guy-Am-I,[2] and more recently an animated TV series of the same name on Netflix.


Sam-I-Am tries to offer an unnamed character a plate of green eggs and ham. He refuses, repeating, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.” while Sam persistently follows him, asking him to eat them in various locations (house, box, car, tree, train, dark, rain, boat) and with diferent animals (mouse, fox, goat). Finally, the character accepts the offer and samples the green eggs and ham, happily declaring that he likes them and ends the story, saying, "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 with 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 yet written.[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]

Woman reading and showing Green Eggs and Ham to children.

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 of 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, Jesse Jackson recited an excerpt of Green Eggs and Ham on Saturday Night Live during a special tribute segment.[20]


TV, film, and stage[edit]

In 1973, “Green Eggs and Ham” became the third of the three Theodor Geisel stories, joining The Sneetches and The Zax, to be adapted into the television special Dr. Seuss on the Loose, which featured a connecting narration by The Cat In The Hat. The book was also released as a Beginner Book Video on VHS which included The Cat In The Hat in 1994. The story was featured as one of the segments brought to life in stage-play fashion in the 1994 TV-film In Search of Dr. Seuss and adapted as part of Seussical as a number during curtain call.

The cartoon was narrated by Paul Winchell. An animated television series based on the book, Green Eggs and Ham premiered on Netflix on November 8, 2019. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and A Very Good Production and distributed by Warner Bros. Television. The cast features Michael Douglas as Guy-Am-I and Adam DeVine as Sam-I-Am with Ellen DeGeneres serving as executive producer.[21] In December 2019, it was announced that the series was renewed for a second season, which was titled The Second Serving.

Video games[edit]

The Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs And Ham video game cover

Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Ham is a single-player, handheld video game for Game Boy Advance based on the 1960 book of the same name published by NewKidCo and released in November 2003.[22][23] The book was also made into a Living Books adaptation for the PC in 1996, and there were similar differences to reflect the new media such as Sam-I-Am sings his opening lines.


The song "Green Eggs and Ham" was recorded by the band Moxy Früvous on their 1992 independent debut album Moxy Früvous and is a rap treatment of the famous story. The Punk Wave band Vader Vader also recorded an unreleased demo of "Green Eggs and Ham" as well as a video.

Selected translations[edit]


  1. ^ "20 Best-Selling Children's Books of All Time". HowStuffWorks. December 9, 2011.
  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 January 26, 2009.
  4. ^ "Green Eggs and Ham". 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "99 Interesting Facts about the world #18". All That is Interesting. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  6. ^ Daven, Hiskey (May 24, 2011). "Dr. Seuss Wrote "Green Eggs and Ham" on a Bet that He Couldn't Write a Book with 50 or Fewer Words".
  7. ^ A 50 -year feast in 50 words Archived August 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Marketplace. Retrieved August 13, 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. December 17, 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. December 23, 2002.
  11. ^ Kids' top 100 books Archived February 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine NEA: National Education Association. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
  12. ^ "Teachers' Top 100 Books". NEA: National Education Association. Retrieved November 26, 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 ( Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  16. ^ "Judge makes 'Green Eggs and Ham' ruling". NBC News.
  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. ^ Fitzpatrick, Meagan (September 25, 2013). "Why Ted Cruz read Green Eggs and Ham in the U.S. Senate". CBC.
  19. ^ Solomon, Deborah (January 20, 2011). "Questions for". New York Times – via
  20. ^ Maggin, Alice (August 13, 2010). "Dr. Seuss' 'Green Eggs and Ham' Turns 50". ABC News.
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 29, 2015). "Netflix Picks Up 'Green Eggs and Ham' Animated Series From Ellen DeGeneres". Deadline. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  22. ^ "Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Ham for Game Boy Advance". Metacritic. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  23. ^ Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Ham at Metacritic

External links[edit]