I have no idea how missed the huge fact that a new book from Shel Silverstein was released a few weeks ago, especially considering he’s my favorite modern children’s author of all time. But my mother knew. And when I opened the mysterious Amazon package that arrived from her this week, and saw the telltale Shel Silverstein line-drawing on the cover, I gasped with the excitement of a kid discovering a puppy under the tree at Christmas.
Every Thing On It is a collection of unpublished poems and illustrations very much in the spirit of Where The Sidewalk Ends, in the best possible way.
The poems feature the kinds of random, crazy, sometimes juvenile/sometimes dark topics that get kids excited about reading–a dirty feet contest; a dentist going to extreme measures to pull a tooth; an apple for sale with one bite missing.
And then are Silverstein’s more profound messages that crop up in poems like The Clock Man, in which the title character asks how much you’ll pay “for an extra day.” Or Food, a prescient tale in which a waiter cautions a diner away from every single item on the menu for fear of…everything.
While it admittedly took me some time to get past the lump in my throat put in place by the first poem, Years From Now, I am now feeling an abundance of joy to balance the wistfulness of a poet taken from us too soon. Truly, I’m delighted to have a new roster of Silverstein’s trademark rhymes, crazy character names (Stick-A-Tongue-Out Sid; Hairy-Harry Neverchop), and hilarious illustrations on my children’s bookshelves. If not my own.
Oh, and the dedication on the first page is exquisite. It simply reads,
And it is. -Liz
Run, don’t walk to your local bookseller or our affiliate Amazon and
buy Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein.