(from Reading Rockets)
Sales Talk
Sam-I-am uses persistence to get his friend to try green eggs and ham. In I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child, Charlie uses his imagination to persuade his sister Lola to eat her dinner. And in Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat, Gregory’s parents seek medical advice to help convince the young goat Gregory that he should eat newspapers and flat tires like other goats. What are some other ways to encourage people to try new things?
Advertising often influences the way we think and the things we try. It is important to talk with your child about how commercial messages can affect thoughts and actions. Imagine that you and your child have started an advertising agency and your first client is Sam-I-am. He wants you to make an advertisement for green eggs and ham. The book, Green Eggs and Ham, has made the dish well- known, but not popular. Sam wants people to buy and eat green eggs and ham. What kinds of pictures and words can you put on paper to convince people that this is a delicious food they should try?
For ideas, look in magazines, newspapers or on television for examples of advertising that use catchy phrases, show interesting images or offer incentives. Talk with your child about how the ads make him feel and discuss what they are trying to get him to do or buy. Then take paper and crayons in hand to make your own convincing print advertisement for green eggs and ham.
Variation: If you have a camera or cell phone that takes video, make a commercial for green eggs and ham with your child as the director and star.
Variation: If the concept of advertising is too complex for your child, work with him to write a persuasive letter. Have you child imagine that he is Sam-I-am and rather than following his friend everywhere with a platter, he wrote him a letter about green eggs and ham. It is a little like writing to Santa Claus but instead of convincing Santa you’ve been good, you have to convince Sam’s friend to try green eggs and ham.
If you’re looking for more resources to help you talk with your child about advertising, PBS Parents has more at www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/ads-grade.html.
What’s in a name?
Sometimes the way a food is described or even just its name will make us interested in trying it. Lola eats her dinner in I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato because she’s having orange twiglets from Jupiter, green drops from Greenland, and cloud fluff from Mount Fuji instead of carrots, peas and mashed potatoes. Think of new names could help make green eggs and ham or other foods more appetizing.
Variation: Make it rhyme! Green eggs and ham rhymes with Sam-I-am. Have your child come up with a unique food name that rhymes with his name—black-eyed peas mac-n-cheese for Luis!