Summit Up 3-2-13: Green eggs and ham, anyone?
Ryan Summerlin March 2, 2013
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that wants to know where you prefer to eat your green eggs and ham. On a train, perhaps? In a plane? By a house, with or without a mouse? Today marks the illustrious date that, in 1904, Theodor Geisel – better known by his nom de plume of Dr. Seuss – was born. In a hospital, near a … uh, probably some sort of administration building. Rhyming is hard!
Geisel was born in Springfield, Mass., and wrote 48 books in his lifetime, more than 200 million copies of which have been sold around the world. That’s equivalent to at least several years’ worth of Summit Ups, which is a lot. A LOT.
Surprisingly, Dr. Seuss’ first book, “And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street” was rejected more than two dozen times before finally being published. (There’s some inspirational information for all those struggling writers out there. Keep on at it!) Classic Dr. Seuss titles include “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.”
The appeal of Dr. Seuss’ books came from their unique illustrations (Geisel previously worked as a magazine cartoonist) and their rhythmic, silly rhyming schemes. While he had an excellent sense of composition and a seemingly endless vocabulary of fun words, Geisel was not above simply making up words to create a rhyme. The story “Yertle the Turtle” is a prime example of this.
Geisel wasn’t afraid to tackle bigger topics, however. “The Lorax” takes on environmental issue, introducing the imaginary creature, called The Lorax, that bemoans the loss of his habitat through deforestation. In researching Geisel’s more serious titles, we came across one that we had not heard of before: “The Butter Battle Book” which, according to the synopsis, deals with the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during the Reagan administration. We have to admit, we’re intrigued.
Of course, no mention of Dr. Seuss would be complete without “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” which has been adapted to video twice – once as a charming cartoon that emulates Geisel’s drawings from the books and which we remember fondly from our childhood, and secondly as a rather ill-advised live action film with Jim Carrey in frightening green makeup and prosthetics. Hollywood, why you gotta mess with a good thing?
So think of a fun way to celebrate the birthday of one of the most creative children’s writers of all-time. Hang out with a mischievous cat, buy a red fish and a blue fish, bring out the green dye for your egg-and-ham breakfast and, most important of all, remember to rhyme. That’s what it’s all about, so we out.