September 1999's Author of the Month

Shel Silverstein
(Chosen by Reviewer Carisa Weeaks)

About Shel Silverstein

Hard to Please (Poem)

His Books

About Shel Silverstein (1932-1999)

Shel Silverstein also known as “Uncle Shelby”, was known for his career as a cartoonist, composer, lyricist, folksinger, writer and director. He was best known for his collections of children’s poetry Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein and A Light in The Attic. Both books had extended stays on the New York Times Best Sellers List. He also wrote The Giving Tree, Falling Up, Giraffe and a Half, The Missing Piece, and The Missing Piece meets the Big O.

Besides being a famous children’s writer, he also was a cartoonist for Playboy and wrote many folk songs including Johnny Cash’s “A Boy named Sue” and the Irish Rovers hit “The Unicorn Song” which was one of Shel’s original poems. He also composed music for movies such as Ned Kelly (1970), Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Such Terrible Things About Me? (1971), and Thieves (1977). He composed music for the film Postcards From The Edge and received an Academy Award nomination in music for the song, “I’m Checkin’ Out.” He also wrote the screenplay for the film, Things Change (1988).

I really got interested in Shel Silverstein when my mom gave me The Giving Tree when I was about 5 or 6. I’ve always been a big reader and I really enjoy poems and rhyming stories. When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, my librarian read an excerpt from his book 'Where the Sidewalk Ends.' Remembering the name from my book that I had at home, I asked if I could check out the book along with the other book she read from, which was 'A Light in the Attic.' I was immediately hooked and read every book of his I could find. I still have 'The Giving Tree' and my mom found three of his other books, 'Where the Sidewalk Ends', 'A Light in The Attic', and 'Falling Up.'

A fan's website
Shel Silverstein at


Here is one of my favorite poems from Falling Up:



(To be said in one breath)

Elaine gives me a pain,
Gill makes me ill,

Winnie’s a ninny,

Orin is borin’,

Milly is silly,

Rosy is nosy,

Junie is loony,

Gussy is fussy,

Jackie is wackie,

Tommy is balmy,

Mary is scary,

Tammy is clammy,

Abby is crabby,

Patti is batty,

Mazie is lazy,

Tiny is whiney,

Missy is prissy,

Nicky is picky,

Ricky is tricky,

And almost everyone Makes me sick. (Whew!)


I was very sad when I found out that he had died in May of 1999 of a fatal heart attack. He was a great writer and had a wonderful way of letting both children AND grown-ups read and enjoy his works. I highly recommend that you let your children read Shel Silverstein’s poems and stories. They are great entertainment as well as learning tools for every age.

His Books

The Giving Tree - February 1986

Where the Sidewalk Ends - December 1973

A Light in the Attic -  October 1981

Falling Up - April 1996

The Missing Piece - March 1976

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O - March 1981

A Giraffe and a Half - April 1975

Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back - July 1972

Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? - January 1983

Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Tender Young Minds - June 1972

Poetry Galore and More with Shel Silverstein -  January 1981

Things Change: A Screenplay - November 1988

1999's Honorary List

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