Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shel Silverstein

I like to think self reflection is healthy.  Why are we who we are?  What makes you, you? What makes me, me?  Why do I detest football yet obsessively collect books?  I have many questions along these line... and a few ideas...  I know I LOVE BOOKS and I LOVE READING.  I credit my parents and several authors for the fact that I've been bitten by the book bug.  One of the most influential authors of my childhood was, without a doubt, Shel Silverstein.  As a kid I relied on the Bookmobile for pretty much all of my reading material.  I was super lucky because the Bookmobile parked RIGHT in front of our house (down a little dirt road in our small town with very few neighbors).  We were Mr. Penrod's last stop every other Thursday evening, and he never rushed me.  Sometimes he stayed 45 minutes while my family browsed books.  And he knew I had a thing for Shel, he'd often keep a copy behind the counter for me in anticipation of my request.  Whatever else I happened to be reading, I kept checking out those same books of poetry time and again over the years.  In high school I finally got my own copies of Where the Side Walk Ends & A Light in the Attic (both of which I read until they fell apart).  When Silverstein published Falling Up in 1996 I was overjoyed... then he died in 1999, and I really truly mourned the loss of this man.  Since then his family has published two new Silverstein books.  I'm very grateful they have.  I'm happy he's living on through his poetry, art & written word.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on Every Thing On It when it was published last year... and, it's fantastic!

I'll share a few images.  A favorite of mine from each of his poetry books, and several from the new one.

You'll find 'The Land of Happy' in, Where the Sidewalk Ends (his first collection of poems published in 1974).  Oh the Land of Happy... What a bore it would be, indeed.

'Crowded Tub' is from A Light in the Attic (my personal favorite of his poetry books, published 1981- a year after I was born).  Every time my kids are all in the tub... I just have to recite this poem.

I am a crazy cat lady... I guess that's why I fell in love with 'No Thank You' from Falling Up published in 1996.

Now we've come to 'Everything On It' from Every Thing On It (published 2011, posthumously).  The book is filled with amazing & wonderful 'Silverstein'.  In fact I read here they had over 1500 poems to choose from when compiling this book.  Really it's just as wonderful as his others.  

His stuff makes me smile.

And sometimes his poems makes me cringe a little, while I'm smiling of course.

Isn't this poem so telling.  
Shel Silverstein, one of the reasons I LOVE books. 
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On a side note, my kids absolutely love his poetry & illustrations too.  
What's your favorite Silverstein?  Are any of his poems floating around in the recess's of your mind?  Is there a certain author you credit your love of books to?

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