Every Thing on it by Shel Silverstein: Poetry and Drawings to Delight Readers of All Ages!

by on July 17th, 2014
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My favorite book of 2011 is Every Thing on It, a collection of previously unpublished poems and drawings by the late Shel Silverstein. Every Thing on It was published in September 2011. Although Silverstein died in 1999, the magic of his poetry will continue to live on through his writings. If you are new to the work of Shel Silverstein, or new to poetry in general, this book is a good introduction to those things. If you are a longtime fan of Shel Silverstein, reading this book is like revisiting an old friend.

Perhaps the greatest thing about the book is that it can be enjoyed by multiple generations, from the smallest children, all the way up through parents and grandparents. It makes a lovely baby shower gift, can be used in the classroom to introduce children to poetry, makes a good graduation gift, and makes for a pleasant light read. In a society driven by technology, this book helps to spur children’s imagination in fun, silly, and creative ways. Although much of the language used is simple, the author never talks down to adolescents or adults. Many of the poems are short enough to allow a child to memorize them. In addition, both girls and boys should find this book interesting. “Burpin’ Ben” and “Rasslin” are two of the poems boys should find appealing; what boy doesn’t like burping or wrestling?

Silverstein’s delightful drawings accompany and wonderfully complement each brain-bending poem. There is plenty of Silverstein’s characteristic light, humorous verse in such poems as “Every Thing on It,” “New Job,” “The Lovetobutcants,” “The Ball Game,” “The One Who Invented Trick or Treat,” and “Finally.”

Other poems, however, take a more thoughtful, but not heavy-handed, tone. “Growin’ Down,” discusses a man who rediscovers the simple joys of childhood. “Yesees and Noees” is about the importance of thinking for yourself. “Food?” addresses the negative information that is often provided about food.

Some of the poems appear to be more geared toward adults. “The Clock Man” explores the value of an extra day of life. “Wall Marks” and “The Dollhouse” both take a nostalgic look at an all-too-fleeting childhood.

In conclusion, my favorite book of 2011 is Every Thing on It, by Shel Silverstein. Whether you have been a fan of Shel Silverstein for many years, or are new to his work, you will find the sweet silliness of this book delightful!


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