Being a fan of Dr. Seuss’ books is like saying you enjoy fun.
Pretty much the same thing goes for Green Eggs and Ham. It might not be your all-time favorite Seuss book, but it almost certainly ranks as one of your favorites. It definitely one of mine – and the illustration posted above is a big reason why. For those who haven’t looked at the book in a while (and shame on you all) this crash was the result of an oddly designed rail line. Instead of ending at a train station, this ride concludes with a Seussian ski jump over a lake.
What kills me, though, is just how blissed out everyone is. The captain, instead of thinking, “Hey! A TRAIN crashed into my boat!” wears an expression more in line with, “Hey! A FOX! How neat!”
The train engineer is happy. The passengers are happy. The goat, fox, and mouse are happy. The only guy who is less than thrilled is our finicky, black-hatted hero. He is troubled, though, not by the life-threatening crash but by the fact that Sam-I-am fails to notice that green eggs and ham look pretty nasty.
This illustration is all the more wonderful when one recognizes that Seuss’ rhymes don’t even begin to suggest any of this insanity. This is not an isolated incident. Earlier in the book Sam-I-am poses a seemingly benign question: “Would you? Could you? In a car? Eat them! Eat them! Here they are!” The statement, however, is accompanied by an illustration depicting a high speed, Sam-I-am-initiated hit and run.
Even more interesting is Black Hat’s reply: “I would not, could not, in a car.” Note that it is a simple, declarative statement. No exclamation point. So, yes, Black Hat is being rammed by a car, but that’s still no reason for him not to use his Indoor Voice.
Green Eggs and Ham is really a unique Seuss book in this regard; other Seuss books get as crazy this one, but the rhymes in those stories comment on and underline the action. Not here. It’s as if a train crashing into a boat is so commonplace in this particular Seussworld that it doesn’t deserve a mention.
And it doesn’t. Green Eggs and Ham is perfect just the way it is.