In terms of sales, Green Eggs and Ham, published in 1960, was the most successful book that Dr. Seuss ever published—it checks as the #4 best-selling children’s book of all time. Famously, the book was limited to a set of fifty words, Dr. Theodore Geisel (Seuss’ real name) having taken up a challenge thrown down by Random House publisher Bennett Cerf after The Cat in the Hat had used 225 words. The fifty 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, and you.
Recently the University of California has started a series of videos called “Fig. 1” intended to present the new research coming out of the University of California system. So far the videos have covered climate change, mountain biking, gold, and cancer.
One of the videos offers a fascinating look at the Dr. Seuss Collection, including drafts of the book Green Eggs and Ham. My favorite bit is the instruction to later colorists “White inside the hambone, always.” The video’s only shortcoming is that, at 84 seconds, it’s far too short! Can we have a version that lasts maybe 15 minutes?