The Nadel family- Enjoy reading our everyday adventures!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shel Silverstein books...

Shel Silverstein was one of my husband's favorite authors as a child. He remembers reading the books of poetry under his covers at night, with a flashlight. I was introduced to Shel Silverstein's books in college. When we got married, we had two copies of several of his books! When our daughter was a baby, she received a copy of The Giving Tree, of which we already owned two copies!

My son is starting to read more chapter books and in-depth books, so we have pulled out the collection we owned, and he needs encouragement to read them. I've read some of Shel Silverstein's poems to them, and he will smile about the silliness. He is like the Dr. Seuss of poetry!

Shel Silverstein's first book that he ever published was The Giving Tree, which took four years to get the publisher agree to publish it! It is a sweet, poignant story about a boy and a tree that he loved, and the tree gave and gave...

Here are some excerpts from a few of his books...
If you had a giraffe...
and he stretched another half...
you would have a giraffe and a half...
-Giraffe and a Half

His second collection of poems and drawings, Where the Sidewalk Ends, was published in 1974.
It opens with this...

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hop-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by the fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in! Come in!

His next collection of poems and drawings was A Light in the Attic, which was published in 1981.
Shel asked his readers to turn on the light in their attics, to put something silly in the world, and not to be discouraged by the Whatifs...


Last night, while I lay thinking her,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long,
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up? 
Whatif there's poison in my cup?...

Here is a list of Shel's books:
Every Thing On It (published after his death by his family- NEW!)
Falling Up (last book published before he died)
A Giraffe and A Half
The Giving Tree
Lafacdio, the Lion who Shot Back
A Light in the Attic
The Missing Piece
The Missing Piece Meets the Big O
Runny Babbit (also published after his death)
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Who wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?
Don't Bump the Glump!

While Shel Silverstein may not have set out to be a children's book author, his books are a huge hit with children of all ages. I enjoy reading them with and to my kids. Shel Silverstein passed away in 1999, he left a great legacy of fun books that show that poetry can be fun and silly too. If you've never read these silly fun books with your kids, I suggest you check some out from your local library, or put them on a gift list for your readers. You may just smile and giggle along with the kids! And be careful, you might start talking Runny Babbit  talk, "Just like mim and he!"

Most of this information is from His website is a fun visit for kids! His books can be found in most bookstores and on

You can read my sister-in-law's post about reading Runny Babbit with her kids here.

1 comment:

  1. Some of my favorite little poems are from his books! :)


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