Best books by Shel Silverstein

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    Shel Silverstein wrote many famous children's books, including The Giving Tree. Learn more about his works here.

    Best books by Shel Silverstein

    If you’re looking for a great author for your children to explore, Shel Silverstein is a great choice. Silverstein is an American author who published poems and children’s books featuring a unique appeal.

    Here, we’ll discuss the best books by Shel Silverstein and provide more information about his life.

    Who is Shel Silverstein?

    Shel Silverstein was a popular author and musician born in Chicago in 1930. When he was 20 years old, Silverstein enlisted in the army, served in Japan and Korea, and became a cartoonist for the military magazine Stars & Stripes.

    After his stint in the army, Silverstein dedicated himself to drawing cartoons. He worked for Sports Illustrated and Look but became widely popular for his work in Playboy. The author’s cartoons were published in every Playboy issue from 1957 to the mid-1970s.

    When he started working at Playboy, Silverstein explored other areas, including music and writing. He wrote several poems that were published in the magazine.

    Silverstein also wrote two books called Playboy’s Teevee Jeebies and More Playboy’s Teevee Jeebies: Do-It-Yourself Dialogue for the Late Late Show.

    Not long after, Silverstein published his books of cartoons, the first one being Take Ten in 1955. A few years later, Silverstein explored music and recorded his first album called Hairy Jazz. During his career, he produced over a dozen albums.

    The year 1963 was the turning point for Shel Silverstein’s career. That’s when he met a book editor who convinced him to write stories for children. He first wrote Uncle Shelby’s Story of Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back. After that, Silverstein wrote A Giraffe and a Half and The Giving Tree. The Giving Tree eventually became his best-known book.

    In the 1970s, Silverstein returned to songwriting and composed numerous songs, full-length albums, and motion picture soundtracks.

    His first collection of poetry, Where the Sidewalk Ends, was released in 1974. Silverstein’s books and collections made the New York Times bestseller list several times.

    Silverstein passed away in Florida in 1999.

    The best Shel Silverstein books and poems

    Here’s a list of great Shel Silverstein works you should explore, many of which have been turned into picture books for children.

    Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings

    This collection of poems and drawings addresses many childhood concerns through humor, wit, and imagination. The National Education Association lists the collection as one of the Top 100 Books for Children. Still, the book is banned from many libraries because it contains profanity and sensitive subjects some consider inappropriate.

    A special edition of the book with 12 extra poems was released for the book’s 30th anniversary.

    A Light in the Attic

    In the attic, readers will meet Sour Face Ann, Backward Bill, Exactlywatt, Broiled Face, and an army of fascinating and funny characters. This collection features 135 poems and is accompanied by the author’s illustrations.

    Falling Up

    This is the third and final poetry collection published before Silverstein’s death. Here, young readers will enjoy the adventures of Allison Beals, Screamin’ Millie, Danny O’ Dare, Headphone Harold, and many others.

    The Giving Tree

    This is one of Silverstein’s best-known titles and has been translated into many languages. It’s also one of the most divisive books in children’s literature because some people interpret the relationship between the boy and the tree as positive, while others say it’s negative.

    Either way, this book is often found on lists of the best children’s books.

    Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back

    Lafcadio first appeared in Playboy magazine. Later, Silverstein turned the story into a children’s book. It centers on a young lion who moved from the desert into the city to perform stunts with a gun in a circus. Many children love this humorous and heartwarming story.

    Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook

    This book of spoonerisms (i.e., words and phrases with swapped letters or syllables) will make any child smile. Here, you’ll meet Toe Jurtle, Runny Babbit, Dungry Hog, Skertie Gunk, and other characters.

    The Missing Piece Meets the Big O

    Here, the missing piece tries to find its perfect match. It’s a story about encouragement, determination, and independence.

    Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?

    Silverstein discusses the joys of owning and having a rhinoceros around the house. This book is characteristic because of its lack of clear structure. It starts as a poem and ends as a bunch of short statements. While this may be unusual for adults, children usually enjoy it.

    Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book

    This is a satirical, funny alphabet book the children’s book author intended only for adults. It’s filled with humor and the author’s signature black-and-white illustrations.

    Honorable mentions

    You should also check out other Silverstein titles like Every Thing On It, Don’t Bump the Glump and Other Fantasies, and Runny Babbit Returns: Another Billy Sook.

    Discover Shel Silverstein’s work on Speechify Audiobooks

    If you want to listen to Shel Silverstein’s classic books, Speechify Audiobooks is the way to go. This platform lets you explore audio versions of the author’s books. Plus, Speechify Audiobooks feature thousands of titles belonging to other genres.

    The platform offers many options that make your listening experience more comfortable, like adjusting the playback speed and setting a sleep timer. If you’re using Speechify Audiobooks on multiple devices, you’ll be happy to know your progress will be synced automatically.

    Try Speechify Audiobooks now.

    FAQ

    What is the most famous Shel Silverstein poem?

    The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends are two of his most famous poems.

    What are Shel Silverstein’s poems known for?

    They’re known for interesting characters, plots, and an incredible sense of humor. The poems are also accompanied by the author’s unique illustrations.

    What is the meaning of the poem Where the Sidewalk Ends?

    Many believe the sidewalk represents everyday, mundane life, while the end of the sidewalk is a place where one can break free and live life to the fullest.

    What is the meaning of A Light in the Attic?

    The book emphasizes the brilliance and curiosity of young minds.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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