Friday, March 10, 2006

The finest American children's book?

Tunku Varadarajan, editorial features editor of The Wall Street Journal, says Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham is "indisputably the finest American children's book," and he emphasizes both the "finest" and the "American" parts of that assertion.

Varadarajan claims there are two ways to interpret the story. One is as a "torture-and-kidnap story," which Varadarajan emphatically rejects. This interpretation may be flawed, but it's a lot of fun and it's the version I will use at cocktail parties.

Varadarajan prefers to see the book "as a formative text in the making of modern American citizens," one that is "a celebration, albeit a mischievous one, of two particularly American traits: salesmanship and open-mindedness." (He also likes that it has a happy ending.)

Read the whole thing here.

--Marshal Zeringue