Students in four first-grade classes at Chamlian Armenian School convened in the cafeteria Wednesday, where they anxiously waited for the green eggs and ham they were about to eat to commemorate Dr. Seuss’ March 2 birthday.
During the previous week, the classes had read one Dr. Seuss book during each school day and learned about the author, born Theodore Geisel in 1904. His book, “Green Eggs and Ham,” was published in 1960. His first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” was published in 1937 after 27 publishers rejected it.
By the end of Geisel’s career, he had written and illustrated 44 books, won a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, three Caldecott honors, three Emmys and three Grammys. He died in 1991.
“I explain to them that he took the name, Seuss, from his mom’s maiden name,” first-grade teacher Souzy Ohanian said. “They didn’t know what a maiden name was. I told them, ‘Go ask your mom what her maiden name is.’”
Each teacher also taught the first graders — approximately 100 in all — to read a Dr. Seuss book each night at home. It was the 12th year that Chamlian Armenian School has celebrated Geisel’s birthday.
The teachers also taught the meaning of each book, using their premise to discuss implications for modern-day issues. After reading “The Lorax” — the story of a forest of “Truffula Trees” destroyed without sympathy from the “Once-ler,” who builds a factory to make and sell “thneeds” — the classes discussed issues facing modern-day environments. On Wednesday, third-grade teacher Anita Torosian read “Green Eggs and Ham,” but not before one student shouted, “I love that book!” and teachers mixed 18 dozen eggs in large bowls.
When Torosian finished reading, Ohanian, wearing a hat just like the one featured in “The Cat in the Hat,” asked,: “How do you think I’m going to turn this [yolk] to green?”
After a few drops of green coloring into the yolk, Ohanian stopped at each table to show the students the transformation, eliciting a round of “Woah!” “Oh!” And “Cool!”
The teachers scrambled both green and regular-colored eggs. But most students chose the green variety.