A few things made Shel Silverstein a natural for the world of kid’s books: his whimsy, his mischievous glee, his masterful line drawings (a wonder of simplicity and expressiveness!) and his well-crafted rhymes.
The imagination played a key role in all of Silverstein’s books, but especially in his classic A Light in the Attic, in which traffic lights turn blue and triangles attack squares, among other flights of fancy.
The Chicago-born Silverstein also had a playful instructive streak which nourished the childhood urge to gain mastery of the adult world. In “How Not To Have to Dry the Dishes” he encouraged children to drop dishes on the floor in order to avoid that “awful, boring chore”. In “Stop Thief!” he explained whom to contact if a thief happened to steal your knees (answer: the police). Silverstein effectively trained several generations of kids in how to transform mundane daily doings into wild larks–– carpe diem, basically, but in everyone’s language.