Uncle Shelby Lives!


My family and I have always enjoyed the work of Shel Silverstein.

My family and I have always enjoyed the work of Shel Silverstein. When I was four, my dad used to read "Uncle Shelby's" poems to me at bedtime and I always fell asleep with a smile on my face.


Shel Silverstein's most recent anthology, "Every Thing On It" was published in late 2011. It has 145 playful rhymes and drawings collected from his archive. Shel Silverstein wrote and sketched every day. He filled notebooks, scraps of paper, and even napkins with his ideas. These are now organized and saved in a warehouse in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

This compendium of his verse was lovingly gathered and edited by his nephew Mitch Myers, his niece Liz Myers, and archivist Joy Kingsolver. Before his passing in 1999, Shel Silverstein would edit and revise his books several times before allowing them to be published. This collection is different simply because the job of editing was handled by others. Though this treasury was published 12 years after his passing, I think that it meets the high standards set by his previous books.


"In Her…" is my favorite poem in "Every Thing On It." It cleverly illustrates that sometimes people don't pay attention to the differences between their actions and words. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys using their imagination and loves to laugh.

Shel Silverstein was born in Chicago and lived a creative life. He wrote and illustrated three other compilations of verse, "Where The Sidewalk Ends," "A Light In The Attic," and "Falling Up." He also wrote other children's books including, "Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back," "The Giving Tree," and "The Missing Piece." In his writings, he often referred to himself as "Uncle Shelby." In addition to being a poet and illustrator, he was a singer and songwriter. He even won a Grammy for the song, "A Boy Named Sue," which was performed by Johnny Cash.

The official Shel Silverstein website (www.ShelSilverstein.com) is a great introduction to his whimsical world. The website has a guide for teachers and parents and there are interactive games and puzzles for kids. They can download activity packets, coloring sheets, screen savers, computer wallpaper, and a poetry workbook.