Undoubtedly one of the most popular stories written by Dr Seuss is Green Eggs and Ham. Rarely a child who has picked up one of his books wouldn’t have at least heard of it. One of the most amazing things about Green Eggs and Ham is the number of words used, and it was written because of a bet. That’s right, Green Eggs and Ham was the result of a bet.
As we have said, the number of words in Green Eggs and Ham is surprising considering its incredible success. It only has 50 different words throughout the entire book. But why is this the case?
Random House was the publishing company that distributed Dr Seuss’ most popular books, The Cat in the Hat.One of the quirks of the Cat in the Hat was that it only had 225 different words in it. The co-founder of Random House, Bennett Cerf, was surprised by Dr Seuss’ ambition and made a bet with him on a book, which was to become Green Eggs and Ham. Cerf bet Dr Seuss that he couldn’t write a book with fewer than 50 words, a challenge that few authors would accept, but Seuss not only accepted the challenge, but also won the bet.
After three years Dr Seuss released Green Eggs and Ham, and he honored the bet by keeping it to fewer than 50 words. But not only did it contain less than 50 different words, but it was over 62 pages long and only had one word that was more than one syllable or five letters long, “anywhere.”