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