First-graders mostly enjoy green eggs and ham during event to promote reading

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

 

Read Across America Week

Why: Celebrating birthday of Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel.

What: Green eggs and ham event.

Years of event: 17.

First-graders served: 7,000.

Number of schools: 48.

Number of eggs: 12,000.

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photoGreen eggs and ham were served to 7,000 first-graders this week as part of "Read Across America Week."

(/The Columbian)

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About 120 wiggling first-graders at Harmony Elementary School waited their turn to have tall, striped hats placed on their heads on Wednesday morning. Then the kids and their parents sat down to tuck into a breakfast of green eggs and ham.

As they ate, the Cat in the Hat — who bore a striking resemblance to first-grade teacher Alex Schiewe — began reading the classic children's book "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss. He was aided by first-grade teacher Nancy Frank.

"I do not eat green eggs and ham.

"I do not like them, Sam-I-am."

It was the 17th year Beaches Restaurant & Bar has prepared a green-eggs-and-ham breakfast for first-graders during Read Across America Week. The event celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss and encourages parents to be volunteer readers in their children's classrooms. By week's end, community volunteers will have served 12,000 green eggs to 7,000 first-graders in Vancouver and Evergreen district schools, said Mark Matthias, owner of Beaches.

Each student received a copy of the Dr. Seuss book "Green Eggs and Ham" provided by each district's nonprofit foundation.

Published in 1960, the picture book by Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, is among the best-selling picture books of all time.

"My favorite Dr. Seuss book is 'Green Eggs and Ham,'" said Sumalita Anuchin, 7, who wore a pink sparkly sweatshirt and a blue and white Cat-in-the-Hat chapeau.

The apples, milk and fruit snacks were devoured, but the green eggs received mixed reviews from the diminutive diners.

Sporting a toothless smile,

Robel Habtom, 7, pointed to his empty plate. "At first I thought I wouldn't like them, but then I tried them," he said. "They're good!"

Wyatt Campbell, 7, took a bite and said, "Tastes like green eggs!"

"Awesome!" Kayla Brusseau, 7, said her first bite. "I didn't know green eggs could taste so good."

But on many plates, like Sierra Dana's, the pile of bright green eggs looked untouched.

"She told me she'd try it, but she won't," Bryan Dana, her dad, said. "She's not an egg eater. Green ones make it even worse."

The quiet Sierra didn't utter a word, but nibbled on a fruit snack rather than eat green eggs and ham -- or talk with a reporter.

Tenzing Yeshi's green eggs remained on his plate too.

"They make me itch," explained the 6-year-old, who is allergic to eggs.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools; susan.parrish@columbian.com