Shel Silverstein is a poet, a childhood favorite of mine. Often I would check out his books from the school library, Falling Up, A Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree. I never owned one of his books as a child. I began my collection as an adult and picked up his, “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”
I am overflowed with nostalgic giddy reading these poems.
Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the word for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early bird -
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.
Some are short and sweet. Others are long and silly. Along with the poems are unique illustrations that add to the poems. I wonder if Silverstein drew the illustrations and wrote the poems to match?
Tell me who can
Catch a toucan?
Just how few can
Ride a toucan?
What kind of goo can
Stick you to the toucan?
Who can write some
More about the toucan?
All the poems are written simple with rhyme. They will make all children, 0-99 years old, giggle and smile. Some are plain silly. Others encourage freedom of expression. Others promote diversity. Rare is the poem that is serious.
One I believe Silverstein wrote just for adults. It is titled the same as the book, “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” It encourages adults to slow down and look at the world in childlike wonder.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes, we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
What about you? Have you read Shel Silverstein before? What is your favorite?