Sunday, November 22, 2009

Green Ham, the Lorax and Bald Boys

Dr. Seuss wrote the book “Green Eggs and Ham” on a dare made by his publisher Bennet Cerf who bet him $50 that he could not write a children’s story using ONLY 50 words; 49 of which were one syllable words. He succeeded.

Okay, raise your hand – who hasn’t read CAT IN A HAT by Dr. Seuss? I’m sure most hands went up – I don’t think you can escape childhood without reading such classics as GREEN EGGS & HAM, THE BUTTER BATTLE BOOK, THE LORAX or HORTON HEARS A WHO.
Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, passed away in 1991 from cancer and I found it an interesting coincidence when I heard of Umm Yousuf’s story – she has a four year old son who is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. While at the bookstore she’d been looking for fun, cheery books for her little boy and picked up a Dr Seuss title called MY BOOK ABOUT ME.
It has an unusual interactive twist -- you make it up as you go along. On each page there's something new to complete, from "I weigh ___ pounds" to "My teeth. I counted them. I have ___ up top. I have ___ downstairs." It gets children to name their home country, to recognize and draw in the color of their own eyes, learn their telephone number and address, to name favorite clothes, foods, and colors, and more. Umm Yousuf paused at the page with the bald boy. Her son had lost his hair while going through chemo, and she thought it was a shame that, of all the kids, it was the bald one who had a sad face. So she wrote the publishing company a letter: Dr Seuss style letter of course!

Beyond the Grinches, the Hortons and Who’s,
Came a page in a book that I wouldn’t choose.
Strolling in the book store I came across my favorite section,
I looked up and down, of the rack, of this Dr,’s collection.

There was a book I hadn’t seen before, I grabbed it right off that shelf,
It was called, “A Book About Me” By Me Myself!

I thought this would be nice for my son, age four,
I opened the book and began to read more.

It looked fun and exciting, another masterpiece of his,
As we have many of his books because of the whiz that he is!
Flipping the pages I came to page four,
And what to my surprise I dropped the book on the floor!

That book, “A book About Me” By Me Myself,
I put that book right back on that shelf!
There is a part of this page I wish I could go and delete,
For I’m afraid we don’t even see on Mulberry street!

A kid picks their hair color, length and their style,
But there is one little boy who hasn’t a smile.
All but one is smiling, and by this I am appalled,
All of the kids look happy except the one who is bald!

Usually getting another Dr. Suess book is a best buy,
I just left that book and started to cry.'
My son who has cancer would be sad to know,
The boy who is sad has hair he can’t grow.

So I am asking the author or the one with authority,
To make one little sick boy their priority.
Just as the red, the purple and the long hair,
Please put a smile, on the one bald, and be fair!

I was happy to hear that Random House sent back a gracious letter saying they plan to "change the boy's rumpled grimace into a nice bright smile". A great ending to this story.

1 comment:

  1. This is my first trip to your blog. Very impressive! I truly enjoyed your post.