The Weekly Sam: Sam Blumenfeld and Dr. Seuss

Sam Blumenfeld was a critic of Dr. Seuss whose real name was Theodor Giesel.  Sam would explain that his children’s books were designed to introduce as few words as possible.  I received a daily trivia E-mail asking which Dr. Seuss book only had 50 words.  Here is the answer:

 I do not like green eggs and ham, or different words—those I can’t stand! When Theodor S. Giesel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote “The Cat in the Hat”, he challenged himself to use a limited amount of words after reading a “Life” magazine article about illiteracy rates. After its success, his publisher, Bennett Cerf, bet the children’s author $50 that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. It was this bet that catalyzed the creation of “Green Eggs and Ham”, which has since become Dr. Seuss’ best-selling title. Though Cerf allegedly never paid his dues, Giesel won in the long run with over 200 million copies of the book being sold worldwide.”

Sam explained that by the time a child is three years old, he has a 2,000 word vocabulary that he has learned all on his own.   Books authored  by the likes of Dr. Seuss artificially stunt the growth of children’s vocabulary.

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