I like reading to children. I like many of the children’s books. I can recite pages and pages of some of the books I read often to our children. However, there are some books that kids seem to love that have a very dark message. Green Eggs and Ham is on my ugh list. Kids like the rhyming and my granddaughter delighted reading it with me, she’s 4 years old. So why am I a big Sam-I-Am hater? For the uninitiated Green Eggs and Ham are about Sam I am convincing the other character, I don’t think he even gets a name, to try eating Green Eggs and Ham. In rhyme he offers them in a house with a mouse and with a fox in a box. Many people would shrug their shoulders and laugh at my view but here it is: Sam I am stalks the other character. He can’t go any where or do anything without Sam I am badgering him to eat Green Eggs and Ham. In the end, the only reason the character eats them is to get rid of Sam I am. Then he proclaims he likes them after all. The dark theme I see is badgering and bullying people is the way to get them to do what you want. You never give up you relentlessly pursue them to change their mind. As I talked this over with my sister Judy, she pointed out that the story doesn’t end until the victim submits and likes it. What if green eggs and ham really do taste terrible? What about the possibility that the poor guy is allergic or for some against their religion? Sadly, this does happen to kids. They are harassed and harassed and bullied and stalked until they finally concede whether they like it or not and they better like it. Yup, I still read the story but I like adding other possibilities or point out that bugging someone like this isn’t very nice.
Reading many of children’s literature books some fairly dark themes creep in. I kept the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales on the highest shelf for a reason. When our son was about 10 years old he informed me he was old enough to read them. He read one, The Red Shoes. He returned me the book with the conclusion he had no desire to read the rest. I do not read Grimm’s fairy tales to any child. Add in the weirdness of political correctness and stories get plain weird. Recently I found a version of There was and Old lady that swallowed a Fly, the lady doesn’t die at the end for swallowing a horse; instead, political correctness whisks that crazy old bat off to a hospital to remove the horse and the other animals out, even the fly. Other fairy-tales and stories are also changed to fit in with adult agenda which more times than I like to think about have dark and scary hidden themes. Many of the stories show how kids solve the problems, then when the kid can’t solve their problems it becomes a double fail. Quite a few stories have themes of how horrible it is if you are different. More than one step child cringes at Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. I am tempted to never read Green Eggs and Ham ever again but then a toddler asks me to read it again and I give in and read it again. That Sam I am that Sam I am, I do not like that Sam I am.