I remember one of my nieces having a huge Shel Silverstein phase a few years back. They were the first books that she was excited to share with us, and I appreciated them for that. My grandmother also developed a strong enjoyment of Silverstein's poems late in her life. I still have her copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends. That is the beauty of Silverstein's work - his poems are timeless and appeal to people of all ages.
This year, Harper Collins has released 40th and 50th anniversary editions of a number of Silverstein's books, including a special edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends that contains 12 extra poems. You might consider any of these for your National Poetry Month commemoration. Though I don't think there are very significant differences from earlier editions, these new editions are very crisp and shiny. I'm happy to have them for my daughter (with thanks to HarperCollins).
1. Don't Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies: 50th anniversary edition. These are particularly quirky, featuring short, illustrated pieces like this:
This is Arnold,
A Long-Necked Preposterous,
Looking around for a female
But there aren't any
2. Where the Sidewalk Ends: 40th anniversary edition with 12 extra poems. This book contains lots of classic, kid-friendly Silverstein, including the Boa Constrictor song. I remember listening to Peter, Paul, and Mary's version of this when I was young (on a record player). The 12 extra poems were not in the original edition, but were apparently added as part of the 30th anniversary edition, and included here. And of course this:
"... Yes, we''ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends."
3. Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back: 50th anniversary edition. This one is an illustrated story (told in chapters), and not a collection of poems. Though Silverstein does certainly play with language. Here's the start:
"And now, children, your Uncle Shelby is going to tell you a story about a very strange lion--in fact, the strangest lion I have ever met. Now, where shall I start this lion tail? I mean this lion tale. I suppose I should begin at the moment when I first met this lion."
4. A Giraffe and a Half: 50th anniversary edition. This is an illustrated, cumulative nonsense-filled story, suited to younger listeners. Here's a snippet from mid-way through:
"If he put on a shoe
and then stepped in some glue...
you would have a giraffe and a half
with a rat in his hat
looking cute in a suit
with a rose on his nose
and a bee on his knee
and some glue on his shoe."
5. The Giving Tree: 50th anniversary edition. While this story of continuing self-sacrifice is not my personal favorite, there are certainly people who like it.
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