Shel Silverstein

Published September 10, 2009 by Molly

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.

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4 comments so far

  1. Killian says:

    Shel Silverstein was my first experience in censorship, when parents of children at my elementary school had the books removed from the shelves. Good thing my parents had already purchased his books for us!

  2. [...] – S­pe­ak­i­ng o­­f adaptati­o­­ns­, the­ b­lo­­g po­­rtal fo­­r S­pi­k­e­ Jo­­nze­’s­ upco­­mi­ng adaptati­o­­n o­­f “Whe­re­ the­ Wi­ld Thi­ngs­ Are­” co­­nti­nue­s­ to­­ di­s­h o­­ut the­ go­­o­­ds­. To­­day­ the­re­ are­ s­o­­me­ v­i­ntage­ cli­ps­ fe­aturi­ng po­­e­t/mus­i­ci­an S­he­l S­i­lv­e­rs­te­i­n; an ani­mate­d s­ho­­rt s­e­t to­­ hi­s­ re­adi­ng o­­f “The­ Gi­v­i­ng Tre­e­” and a cli­p o­­f hi­m li­v­e­ and i­n pe­rs­o­­n o­­n “The­ Jo­­hnny­ Cas­h S­ho­­w.” (We Love You­ So) [...]

  3. [...] – Speaking of adaptations, the blog portal for Spike Jonze’s upcoming adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are” continues to dish out the goods. Today there are some vintage clips featuring poet/musician Shel Silverstein; an animated short set to his reading of “The Giving Tree” and a clip of him live and in person on “The Johnny Cash Show.” (We Love You So) [...]

  4. k says:

    dont forget to mention his devious nature and a decade of writing for playboy magazine ;)