AUTHOR OF THE WEEK SHEL SILVERSTEIN

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK SHEL SILVERSTEIN

jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG  23rf August 2018

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

Shel Silverstein lived 25 September, 1930 – 10 May 1999 and was a very talented person especially in the art of music, drawing and painting, as a musician and song writer and as a writer and children’s book writer.

I was first aware of him through his writing of Dr Hook songs. Silverstein’s passion for music was clear early on as he studied briefly at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. His musical output included a large catalogue of songs; a number of which were hits for other artists, most notably the rock group Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, in fact he wrote almost all of their hit singles and many album tracks.

 

He wrote “A Boy Named Sue” the very popular Johnny Cash hit which won a 1970 Grammy. He was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his song “I’m Checkin’ Out” in the film Postcards from the Edge.

 

Another song for Johnny Cash was “25 Minutes to Go”, about a man on Death Row with each line counting down one minute closer.

 

For children’s books he styled himself as Uncle Shelby in some works. Translated into more than 30 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies.

Here is a list of 11 of his many titles:

 

  1. A Giraffe and a Half

Age Level: 3-6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Laugh out loud things happen when one has a giraffe who has stretched to become a giraffe and a half. Absurdity and humor build as a boy adds more silly (but rhyming) things to the long-necked animal. Line illustrations build to bring the satisfying tale full circle.

 

  1. A Light in the Attic

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sly humor and tricky truths emerge from each rhyme in this genuinely humorous collection as each poem reminds children and adults of their behaviors and foibles. Black line drawings accompany each imaginative verse which begs to be shared aloud.

 

  1. Don’t Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Meet the Pointy-Peaked Pavarius, a Quick-Disguising Ginnit, and other amazing imaginary critters in this poetic bestiary. Delight in the pages of Silverstein’s only collection illustrated in full color. Wordplay and humor are the hallmarks of this engaging collection.

 

  1. Falling Up

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As he did in his earlier collections, Silverstein presents the world with shrewd humor, a bit of rebellion, loads of lively language, and endless reader appeal. His signature line drawings add to the comic appeal of the classic poems presented in this collection.

 

  1. Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When lions are roused by the sound of guns, only one young lion (who readers come to know as Lafcadio) stays to dissuade the hunter. Rather than deterring the hunter, Lafcadio winds up eating him, becoming a crack shot, and entering the human world. Humor in wordplay and in line drawings creates contagious fun in this poignant tale of having ties to very different worlds.

 

  1. Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Way down in the green woods/Where the animals all play/They do things and they say/ things in a different sort of way… They transpose initial consonants of words so they “bead a rook” instead of “read a book” and more. Line drawings and humorous wordplay make this collection one sure to cause lots of laughter!

 

  1. The Giving Tree

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

This poignant parable begins, “Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy.” And because she loves him, she gives her all as both boy and tree grow older. When the boy grows into an old man, he sits on the stump of the tree; once again the tree is happy. Simple line drawings complement this timeless tale.

 

  1. The Missing Piece

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Independent Reader

Its gentle journey begins with melancholy: “It was missing a piece and it was not happy” but concludes with greater self-awareness. The main character is depicted as a Pac-Man-like creature who strives to find what it thinks it’s missing. Simple text and line drawings ideally complement each other in this many-leveled tale.

 

  1. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The creature with the missing piece (in the book of the same title) is back. Here it searches for a friend and meets the Big O, learning what it means to have a buddy that suits you well. Simple black line drawings and unadorned language make this a powerful tale that works on many levels.

 

  1. Where the Sidewalk Ends

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Young readers (or listeners) are invited to share whimsical, imaginative, sometimes head-turning, always laugh-inducing poems in this classic collection.

 

  1. Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?

Age Level: 6-9

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

If anyone is looking for a new pet, they may want to consider a rhinoceros. In this amusing book, there’s one for sale “cheap.” Black line drawings with an occasional splash of colour and a straightforward text reveal the unique strengths of an unlikely friendship with characteristic Silverstein flair.

 

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY

When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles – Pooh Bear

HAPPINESS IS…

Happiness is…A Dr Hook & The Medicine Show album

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

Why should you never jumble up the word ‘asterids’? Because it could spell disaster.

LOVE IS…

Love is…what makes you feel like kids again

TRACK OF THE DAY

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan – Dr Hook

Highest Chart Position: 48 24th November 1978 (Marrianne Faithful version)

Written by Shel Silverstein  and originally recorded by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show in 1975, this song was also covered by Marrianne Faithful  Bobby Bare and Belinda Carlisle. It was used in the movies Montenegro and Thelma & Louise.

 

©2018 Phil M Robinson