Sam I Am

Which children's book was written after the author was dared to use only 50 words?

And the answer: Green Eggs and Ham.

Pages 12-13 of Green Eggs and Ham, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss

First published in 1960, Green Eggs and Ham was written by Dr. Seuss on a dare from his publisher to use just 50 words. However, it wasn't the first challenge he was given. For example, The Cat in the Hat was written after the publisher said, "Write me a story that first-graders can’t put down."

From a young age, Seuss – or as he was known then, Ted Geisel – had a way with words. His mother would sing him to sleep with rhymes she picked up from her father's bakery, instilling an early interest in rhythm and rhyme. Later, Seuss credited his mother for her influence on his future whimsical career. In his 1995 biography, Seuss was quoted to attest that his mother was most responsible "for the rhythms in which I write and the urgency with which I do it."

Seuss never had any biological children. When prompted on the subject, he would commonly respond: "You make them, I’ll amuse them." And amuse he did. As opposed to other popular children's works such as Dick and Jane, Seuss' works never attempted to preach any moral or way for children to act. Some of his most famous titles like The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! engage with fantastical animals and themes to make reading more fun. And, not without taking his audience seriously. Though draped in whimsy, books like The Lorax still insisted upon messages of environmental preservation and community.

Dr. Seuss remains a beloved author and illustrator that changed the route of children's literature entirely. Watch the original animated version of The Lorax below.

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