Born in Chicago, Illinois, Shel Silverstein began writing and drawing at a young age. He became a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist and a Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter and best known as the author of several popular children’s books. Awards: Grammy Award, Best Country Song for “A Boy Named Sue,” 1969; Grammy Award, Best Recording for Children for Where the Sidewalk Ends in 1984 (Source: Encyclopedia.com)
In my home library shelved in the children’s section, I have 3 books written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein:
Book 1: Where The Sidewalk Ends: My copy printed in 1974 was one of the first book of poems that my daughter learned to read as a child back in the 90’s and it became her favorite book. Inside on pages 16 to 17 of this book is one of his poems: “Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too.” It’s a fun read. On Shel Silverstein’s official website you will find a wonderful animated performance of this (click the name of this book) or ShelSilversteinBooks’s youtube channel.
Book 2: The Giving Tree: I recently purchased my copy, printed in 1992 from the original 1964 version, when someone mentioned that this was his favorite Shel Silverstein book when he was a little boy. Now, after having read it I can say, “it’s now my favorite book and I enjoy reading it often.”
Book 3: Falling Up: This is the last book of poetry collection by Shel Silverstein published in 1996, three years before his death. Inside the covers you will find over a hundred poems with drawings. One of these poems on page 147 reminds me of the race I played when I was a kid. The title is “The Sack Race” and it goes like this: “Yes, it’s time for the sack race. Yes, I’m ready to go. Yes, it’s my first sack race. How did you know…?” And, if you know children who don’t like to pick up their toys, perhaps if they watch “The Toy Eater” (click the name of this book)…it might change their minds. This poem can be found on page 77 in the book “Falling Up” by Shel Silverstein.
Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, February 3, 2013