Perfect Picture Book Friday: Green Eggs and Ham + Happy Birthday Author

Green eggs

Would you read this post, my dears?
Would you hear it with your ears?
Would you read it on a dare?
Would you read it with a bear?

The intro’s short, a brief to-do
Since I’ve got lots to share with you:
A book by Seuss for you and me,
An interview with Eric V!

Every year on March 2, the book world celebrates the birthday of one of our greatest children’s authors, Dr. Seuss. I was made aware of this big event by someone I think is one of the most unique resources for book extension activities in the kidlit blogosphere: Eric Van Raepenbusch from Happy Birthday Author.

So I am getting a head start on the festivities by dedicating this post to two guys who have done and still do so much for children and books, one through his inimitable rhyme and characters, the other through his inspiring passion for creating memorable reading experiences for kids.

[heading style=”1″]The Goods[/heading]

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Written and Illustrated by: Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (1960)
Genre: Early Reader/Fiction
Ages: 3+ for listening, 5+ for reading
Themes/Topics: Trying new things, picky eaters, rhyme

Opening and Brief Synopsis:

I am Sam. Sam-I-am.
That Sam-I-am! That Sam-I-am! I do not like that Sam-I-am!
Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-am. I do not like green eggs and ham. 

And so goes this classic tale of the picky eater in the hat and the cheerfully persistent Sam-I-am, engaged forever in their Do-you/I-do-not dance!

Seuss with a goat


Until finally the picky eater decides to give those green eggs and ham a fair go.
Seuss I do like them

Links to Resources 

The Movie Musical Version

Why I Like This Book: As a terribly picky eater who drove her mother crazy (nothing from the sea, nothing with eyes, nothing still in the shape it had when it was alive, nothing that requires a mallet to eat, nothing with nuts in it), I can relate to the poor guy in the hat and to the relentless Sam-I-am who just doesn’t want his friend to miss out on a good thing. Besides the rollicking pace and genius rhyme that mark all of Seuss’s books, Green Eggs and Ham is a silly and gentle lesson about trying new things before forming an opinion about them. But I still don’t want nuts in my brownies.

You can find the entire list of recommended picture books on Susanna Hill Leonard’s Perfect Picture Books page on her blog.

See more picture books in my picture book library.

[divider top=”0″]Now have a look at what just one person with a passion can do with a picture book! Seriously, if you haven’t met Eric yet, hie thee to his blog for some of the most creative extension activities I’ve ever seen.

[heading style=”1″]Featured Kidlit Blogger ~ Eric Van Raepenbusch[/heading]

What’s Up with Eric

Eric Van Raepenbusch

Eric, who are you, where are you, and how many little Whos do you currently have in Whoville? 
I’m Eric Van Raepenbusch, a stay-at-home dad, former teacher, blogger, and reader-alouder extraordinaire from Ohio, USA. I left teaching back in 2005 to become a stay-at-home dad for my daughter. Every couple of years I have been lucky enough to get a contract extension – and by that I mean blessed with another child. Currently, besides my girl Who, I have two boy Whos who are “my dudes!” (Who dudes?) I say currently, because we are expecting our fourth little Who very soon!


This week on your blog, you are celebrating the great Dr. Seuss. What’s your favorite Seuss story?
My favorite Seuss story is If I Ran the Circus, a book he dedicated to his father and that includes my favorite Seuss character, Mr. Sneelock. Another favorite is I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!, which had my daughter belly laughing before she was even two.

Have you personally ever heard a Who?
Have I heard a Who? No, have you? (That’s all the rhyming you’ll hear from me!)

Sadly, I have not. (At least, not a lot.) Where did you get the idea for Happy Birthday Author? How many authors have you celebrated so far? Did you make them cake with cheese? Did you make them eat their peas? 
I started celebrating children’s authors’ birthdays when I was an elementary special education teacher. My students were the children who struggled with all aspects of school. My job was to teach them to read, write, and spell, but since I was given no curriculum to follow, I made up all my own lessons. One day I received an author birthday calendar from Scholastic, and it inspired me to incorporate picture books into those lessons.

A few years later, I celebrated Kate McMullan’s birthday with my kids, and that’s when Happy Birthday Author became about creating memorable reading experiences for my children. My son and I made a cake designed like the garbage truck in McMullan’s I Stink, an activity that made me realize that celebrating author birthdays with my children could be fun!

I'm Mighty cake
He bakes too!

To date we’ve celebrated 129 authors with over 50 of them contributing to the blog posts with their own birthday memories. Also, my son and I kept up the tradition by making our third Kate McMullan birthday cake this year!

I’m thoroughly in awe of the detailed book extension activities you do with your kids. Where do you get all these ideas…and time? Would you, could you, tell me how? Would you, could you, tell me now?
The best way to explain how I get my ideas is that I just let it happen. I choose an author, go to multiple libraries to get as many of the author’s books as I can, and then I read them all to my kids. As I read, I think about ways to bring the books to life – to give my children an experience. Recently, we celebrated Caldecott recipient Gerald McDermott’s birthday, and my son got super excited about Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon. He loved that the tortoise played the flute, so I thought, “Let’s make a flute!” A little Google and a little PVC pipe later, I had found the way to bring the book to life.

Making Flutes for Gerald McDermott
Making Flutes for Gerald McDermott

The blog has become an important part of our family. We are constantly going to the library and reading books together. The activities take some planning, but it is something I look forward to doing with them during the day. I write the blog, while drinking lots of coffee, after they go to bed. I have joked that the blog keeps me sane. In a way, it is true!

What do you do when you’re not slunk-slinking like a Grinch or stalking the elusive Twiddler-Headed Crow?
I like to try new things. Recently, I am into gardening and writing my own children’s books. I am really excited to try my hand at beekeeping this spring!

Of course you are! Can we come visit you and see all the cool stuff you do with your kids? (Online, of course. It’s not like we’ll be peeking through your windows. That would be creepy. We would not do that, Eric V. We would not do that, nosiree!)
Sure! You can visit my blog, Happy Birthday Author, at, where you’ll find lots of fun activities and pictures of me slithering on the floor. You can also keep track of our author birthday celebrations via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Thanks for stopping by, Eric, and for making the rest of us look like slackers. You are a force of nature!

Thank you, Renée, for having me on No Water River! I am very appreciative.

We will not slack now, Eric V.
We will not slack now, wait and see!
We will not slack now in the house.
We will not slack now with a mouse.
We will not slack nor here nor there.
We will not slack more anywhere! 

Imogene's Antlers
Priceless: Imogene's Antlers

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  1. Yes, I like this review I do!
    Yes, I like it, how about you?

    I love the interview with Eric! And the review? Well of course we have to have Green Eggs and Ham on our PPBF list! I’m surprised it hasn’t been there sooner! Wonderful addition!

    1. I know! I know! No Dr. Seuss!
      No cats in hats there on the loose!
      No goats, no boats, no purple moose,
      No cuckoo cows in a caboose!

      But now we’ve got him, yes we do.
      Yes, Dr. Seuss is there now too!

  2. HA! I LOVE YOUR REVIEW! We both chose Dr. Seuss books this friday 🙂 Green Eggs and Ham is an AWESOME book! It is the first book my sister could read all by herself.

    Great interview with Mr. Van Raepenbusch! (I’m not even going to try to make a rhyme out of that)

  3. Say, I really love this post!
    Renee, you are a perfect host!
    That’s it for rhyme, I’m sad to say,
    ‘Cause once I start- there goes my day….

    As you said, Dr. Seuss is inimitable. I loved him as a child, but didn’t really comprehend his genius until I started writing for children.
    I love your interview with Eric- so much fun! I love it here, I love it there. I love it….stop already! Thanks for the smiles 🙂

  4. A rhyme, you say?
    Why never! Nay!
    I will not do it for a Suess,
    I will not do it for a moose.
    For Happy Birthday Author? YES!
    He’s at the top! He is the best!

    Okay, that’s all I got. So delighted you added Green Eggs and Ham to our list at PPBF (one of my favorite Suess books). Extremely delighted that you interviewed Eric, in such a creative manner. Thank you for starting my day in such a wonderful way.

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE Green Eggs and Ham! And what a great interview with Eric – he is amazing – full of great ideas and what awesome pictures 🙂 My daughter was an actual Who – her 6th grade class did Seussical and she was the Baby Kangaroo as well as a Who 🙂

  6. Our blog is our family project too
    With lots of science experiments to do.
    It forces us to have more fun
    From dawn until the day is done.

    Renée and Eric, thanks for this post. Dr. Seuss is a favorite in our house, since my older one is learning to read. And Eric, is was fun to hear about all your adventures on the home front.

  7. Wow, you’re right Renee, I definitely feel like a slacker. It was great getting to know Eric a bit more and learn about how his blog came about. Best of luck with the beekeeping! Thanks for sharing guys.

  8. Oh, Renee, you’re such a card,
    to make us laugh so very hard.
    Clever words conspire to make
    my poor belly twitch and ache.
    Thank you, thank you Miss Renee,
    for you have truly made my day.

    Fantastic post and a great interview with Eric! He has so many incredible ideas to go along with the books he chooses, I always enjoy his posts.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. Love it, love it!
    Yes I do!
    Perfect post from
    both of you!

    What a FUN Friday post guys! Eric–I didn’t realize you were a former Sped Teacher–I am a former Sped Teacher too–No wonder I think you are so cool! 🙂 Best of luck with upcoming Who! How very exciting!

    Renee–You put the “flava” in PPB Friday as always! I wouldn’t expect anything less! 🙂

    Have a great weekend, my friend! 🙂

  10. You deserve ” best post to day.” It was such fun and very playful. Love Dr. Seus and the national reading day. The military holds a huge Dr Seus event at the US Air Force Museum, and the military, generals included, read thousands of kids. It’s a huge event.

    Great to meet Erci and to learn about his special blog! Kudos for what you do.

  11. Excellent post, Renee! We both covered rhyming books about picky eaters today. Great coverage of Happy Birthday Author, too. I agree that it is an amazing resource! And yes, I do feel like a slacker (in the best possible way)!

  12. This is fairly amazing, too.

    I love all the comments Renee, just for you.

    Yes, I like them one hundred per cent!

    ” meant what I said and I said what I meant.”

    Such fun to relax and read and enjoy Dr. Seuss and Eric V. I didn’t know about this blog! And FYI-my littlest granddaughter’s name is Imogene. We do know about the antlers!

  13. No longer can I suppress
    the feelings I possess.
    the time has come to express.
    this post is a success.

    I really did try to come up with more. But, that is all I got.

    Thank you to Renee for hosting me. I loved the creativity you put into the post.

    Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments. They mean more to me than you can imagine!

  14. Oh my!
    I loved the post, Renee…Eric has an awesome blog…what a creative way to encourage reluctant learners…and now he can share all of his stories and ideas with his own little ones…who, no doubt, are NOT reluctant learners…and will probably be out-reading him before too long. 🙂
    Great book for PPBF…another book for fussy eaters. 🙂
    But I have to admit, I had just as much fun reading the comments…you guys are all amazing!!!!

  15. Fun stuff, Renée and Eric!
    My rhymes are few and far between
    So I’ll leave it to the Poetry Queen.
    That’s you, Renée.
    See what I mean?
    I can’t end this thing.

    Really! But thanks to you both. Incredible!

  16. I’m so glad I read this blog.
    My head is always in a fog
    When I try to think up ways
    To keep kids busy on those days
    When boredom looms and tantrums fly.
    Now I have some tricks to try.

    Fun post guys! 🙂

  17. I’ll admit it. I am hooked.
    My rhyming goose if fully cooked.
    It tried my best to post in prose
    But my brain screamed out 50 “No’s.”
    So…cat and hat and bat and rat
    And pat and sat and gnat and spat.
    And night and flight and tight and bright
    And light and might and right and write.
    And sky and fly and bye and try
    And cry and die and pie and high.
    And boo and do and flew and shoe
    And glue and woo and Phew…I’m through!

    Great interview Renee and Eric. I am so thrilled to hear the story behind Eric’s blog. Really great!

    And how I do love Dr. Seuss.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed your tribute to Dr. Seuss and the inteview with Eric V. I couldn’t get the video to work here at school so I’ll be sure to watch it this weekend!

  19. Loved the ryhmes from one and all,
    didn’t want my comment to spoil
    .Eric and his kids are real cute,
    that last pic with antlers is a hoot.
    Loved the review of eggs and ham,
    though not a poet, writer is what I am.
    So giving this my best shot,
    and hoping you like it a lot.

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