In 1960, Dr. Seuss wrote a book called Green Eggs and Ham. Where did he get the idea for a book about this Strange meal? It all started with a bet!
THE BOOK BET
Here is the story behind Green Eggs and Ham.
Dr. Seuss Makes a Bet
Dr. Seuss had a friend named Bennett. Bennett loved Dr. Seuss's books, and he wanted Dr. Seuss to write a new one. He gave Dr. Seuss a tricky task.
Bennett thought it would be extra hard to write a book with only 50 different words in it. Bennett bet Dr. Seuss $50 that he wouldn't be able to write a book like that!
Fifty words may sound like a lot. But most books have more than 50 different words in them. The Cat in the Hat, one of Dr. Seuss's other books, has more than 200 different words!
Dr. Seuss said yes to the bet. He knew he could write the book. He got to work.
Dr. Seuss Writes the Book
Dr. Seuss wanted the book to be easy to read. He wanted it to be fun to read too. He came up with a funny idea. The book would be about a character named Sam-I-Am.
Sam-I-Am wants his friend to eat green eggs and ham. Sam-I-Am chases his friend all over until he finally tries the food!
Dr. Seuss worked hard on the book. He did a lot of drafts of his words and pictures. He crossed things out and erased them until he got them right. As he wrote, Dr. Seuss counted all the different words in his book. He made lists and charts.
Dr. Seuss Wins the Bet!
Finally, he finished the book. He called it Green Eggs and Ham. The book had fun rhymes and silly pictures. Best of all, it had only 50 different words. Dr. Seuss had won the bet! But did he get the $50?
No. Dr. Seuss said that Bennett never gave him the money! But they stayed friends, and Dr. Seuss won in another way. Green Eggs and Ham became a big hit. It was funny, and it was easy to read. Over the years, people have bought millions of copies of Green Eggs and Ham. Its Dr. Seuss's most popular book, and it all started with a bet!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. SEUSS!
March 2 is Dr. Seuss's birthday! How do people celebrate it?
Some people celebrate it by eating green eggs and ham.
Some people celebrate it by wearing funny hats.
Many people celebrate it by reading great books!
Core Skill RI.2.1 Key Details, RI.2.8 Text Evidence
Show What You Know!
1. Why was writing the book hard for Dr. Seuss?
() He had never written a book before.
() He didn't like to write books with rhymes.
() The book could have only 50 different words.
2. The author says that Dr. Seuss worked hard. Which sentence from the article shows one way he worked hard?
() Dr. Seuss said yes to the bet.
() He did a lot of drafts of his words and pictures.
() It's Dr. Seuss's most popular book, and it all started with a bet!
3. Which of these is NOT true about Green Eggs and Ham?
() Dr. Seuss's friend Bennett wrote it.
() Many people have bought it.
() Dr. Seuss wanted it to be easy to read.
4. What is the section "Dr. Seuss Writes the Book" mostly about?
() It's about Dr. Seuss's friend Bennett.
() It's about how Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham.
() It's about how Green Eggs and Ham has sold millions of copies.
The article says that Bennett never paid Dr. Seuss the $50, but Dr. Seuss won in another way. How did Dr. Seuss win?
The True Story of Green Eggs and Ham
Editor's Note: The eggs on the cover of this issue are not really green. We Photoshopped them to give them their festive color. We toyed with coloring the ham green too--but we found that green ham looked moldy. We wanted to capture the silly (and tasty) spirit of Dr. Seuss's classic book!--Blair
Reading Objective: Learn how Dr. Seuss wrote one of his most famous books.
Common Core Standards: SL.2.2, RI.2.8, RI.2.5, RI.2.10
Social Studies Standards: culture; production, distribution, and consumption
Vocabulary: tricky, character, drafts, charts, copies, popular
Spotlight Core Skill: RI.2.8 Text Evidence
3-Step Lesson Plan
Watch and Discuss a Video (SL.2.2)
* Before reading, watch "Hooray for Dr. Seuss!" It is a great way to learn about the life of this famous author and illustrator. After you watch, ask: Was Dr. Seuss a hard worker? (yes) Then tell students that now they will read about one of Dr. Seuss's greatest challenges!
Text Evidence (RI.2.8)
* Read the issue together. Then explain that when you answer questions about an article, you need to find evidence in the text that backs up your answer. Ask questions like these to work on finding text evidence:
* Did Dr. Seuss's friend want to give him a challenge? (yes) What are two facts in the article that tell you? (He thought it would be hard to write a book with only 50 words; he bet Seuss $50 that he couldn't do it.)
* Did Dr. Seuss want the book to be funny? (yes) How do you know? (The text says he wanted it to be fun to read and that he came up with a funny idea.)
* You can also ask questions that require students to use text evidence to make inferences, such as: "Why was it a challenge to write a book with only 50 different words? Where in the text can you find clues?" (The text says most books have more than 50 different words, and The Cat in the Hat has more than 200. It is probably hard to tell a story with so few words.)
* Was Dr. Seuss angry with Bennett for not paying the $50? (no) Why do you think so? (They stayed friends. Also, people bought millions of copies of the book. Dr. Seuss probably made a lot of money anyway!)
* You can pass out the skills sheet on page 6 to give students individual practice with text evidence. For a group review, play the online game.
Examine Text Features (RI.2.5)
* Return to the article to review text features, such as:
* A headline is the title of the article. What is the headline on page 2? ("The Book Bet")
* A subheading is the title of a small part of an article. How many subheadings are in this article? (three) What does each one tell you? (one thing Dr. Seuss did)
* The sidebar is on the side of an article. It gives extra facts. How is this sidebar connected to the article? (The main article is about Dr. Seuss. The sidebar tells how people celebrate his birthday every year.)
Go to www.scholastic.com/sn2:
Video: "Hooray for Dr. Seuss!"
Game: "Silly Seussy Game Show"
Printables: ABC order page
RI.2.8 Text evidence
Show You Know Seuss!
Use "The True Story of Green Eggs and Ham" to answer the questions.
1. Writing a book with only 50 words in it is tricky. Which sentence from the article tells why?
() "Dr. Seuss said that Bennett never gave him the money!"
() "But most books have more than 50 different words in them."
() "Bennett bet Dr. Seuss $50 that he wouldn't be able to write a book like that!"
2. Did Dr. Seuss want his book to be hard to read?
Write a sentence from page 2 that lets you know this is true. --
3. Have many people read Green Eggs and Ham?
Write a sentence from page 3 that lets you know this is true. --
4. Dr. Seuss worked hard on Green Eggs and Ham. Write a sentence from page 3 that lets you know this is true. --
Caption: This is Dr. Seuss Working at his desk.