Monday, March 05, 2007

More Book Review Contest: Green Eggs and Ham

I know, I know, I said the contest was over (except for, of course, the most excellent reviews by the winners of their prizes that, I am sure, are wending their way to me via email even as we speak). But after I called out all the daddies for not stepping up, I got this email from reader (and dad) rockcreek. Seems he sent me his review on February 17, but left out the "a" in my handle/email address and so I never got it. Sucks, dude! But to give props to the only other dad to (try to) enter the contest [or should I say, "props to pop"?], and because Friday was the venerable Dr. Seuss' birthday, here's one more review.

Title: Green Eggs and Ham
Author/Illustrator: Dr. Seuss
Reviewer: rockcreek

EVERYBODY loves Dr. Seuss books. Now that I'm re-reading them 35 years later (give or take), I've only just realized how brilliantly written and illustrated they are. As a kid, you're always taken by pictures, and the trippy Roald Dahl vibe mixed with the Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions wouldn't really register. You'd just see two furry dudes, one looking somewhat pissy, the other holding a vaguely unappetizing plate of green food, having a talk in a car with a goat, fox, and a mouse, on top of a train car which just jumped some impossibly rickety tracks and is headed for the smokestack of a ship. "Cool!"

Then the writing. These are great to read with my eldest son, who is mildly speech delayed. The rhyme scheme helps him process, so when I read, "You may like them / You will see. / You may like them / in a... ", he jumps right in with " ... TREE!" His books are a speech therapist's dream, and their publishing seems to predate the development of many commonly used practices for childhood language acquisition (e.g. using simplified vocabulary, repeating phrases, etc.) And the rhyme and the meter never seem forced or clumsy. ("Green Eggs" is 60 pages; I doubt I could communicate "wash your hands" in a rhyming meter.)

On top of that, the Doc manages to fit in overarching lessons of socialization about the value of persistence and taking risks. That he managed to get all of this in between the cover of a single book makes this one my favorite.

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