March 20, 2012

Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss
Written by Dr. Seuss
Narrated by Jason Alexander, Michael McKean, David Hyde Pierce
No Narrator Sites
1-4 Preschool Primary
Learning Library CD $19.99

Few actors can fully embody the exasperation, the exhaustion and the sheer hysteria of Sam I Am's victim in the Dr. Seuss classic, Green Eggs and Ham. Fortunately for those listening to the story on this CD, Jason Alexander is one of them. Alexander takes the listener through the familiar text with pathos-laden gusto, ratcheting up the tension until, finally, the green eggs and ham are tried and, of course, enjoyed. Though Green Eggs and Ham is a classic read-along with only fifty words (mostly sight vocabulary) repeated in increasingly creative combinations, the classic Seussian rhythms are a pleasure to listen to - especially when voiced by an actor with such a strong sense of comedic drama and timing. The effort is an excellent introduction to the rest of the CD.

Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss follows the Learning Library's first Dr. Seuss offering, The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites. While the first CD featured some of Seuss's more advanced / longer works, Other Servings contains 9 unabridged texts, all of which are classic Seuss beginning readers. On it, David Hyde Pieced expertly tackles Fox in Sox's famous tongue twisters, making them sound as easy to say as his rendition of Hop on Pop, a Seuss title fit for even the youngest readers. Alexander re-appears for a spirited rendition of Dr. Seuss's ABC while Michael McKean introduces treats listeners performances of Oh, Say Can You Say? and I Can Read With My Eyes Shut that are both earnest and ironic. (Vocally, he nails that particular form of Seussian tongue-in-cheek).

Dr. Seuss books are always a pleasure to listen to - his stories tap into the same primal love of word play, rhythm and rhyme that have made Mother Goose so enduringly popular for centuries. It's the biggest reason moms and dads routinely lose their voices reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (also read here by Hyde Pierce) for the eleventy-hundreth time. Now, when laryngitis sets in, there's a strong alternative. Even better, Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss offers parents and children the pleasure of listening to Seuss's work together, allowing for yet another way to share and experience his particularly playful brand of poetry.

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