Claim: Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham after being challenged by his editor to produce a book using fewer than fifty different words.
of us grew up enjoying the wildly imaginative rhyming works written and illustrated by Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss.Bartholomew and the Oobleck, If I Ran the Zoo, Horton Hears a Who!, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and many other books involving "ludicrous situations pursued with relentless logic" were the core of many a child's personal library. In 1957, Seuss produced a classic children's tale, The Cat in the Hat, using only the words on an average first-grader's vocabulary list. This work was followed by a series of books employing an ever more limited vocabulary: Ten Apples up on Top!, Hop on Pop, Fox in Socks, and the book that initiated this trend (and is perhaps the best known of all of Seuss' efforts), Green Eggs and Ham.
What prompted this minimalist trend by Dr. Seuss? A dare from his editor, Bennett Cerf, that he write a book using no more than fifty different words. Seuss took Cerf up on his challenge and produced a classic children's work many of us can still recite from memory.
Last updated: 12 July 2007
MacDonald, Ruth K. Dr Seuss.
Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988. ISBN 0-8057-7524-2 (pp. 138-139).
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.