Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shel Silverstein: Timeless entertaining children's author

'Everything On It' by Shel Silverstein

On September 25, 1930, Shel Silverstein, the witty and entertaining children’s author was born in Chicago, Illinois, and during his 68 years of life, he produced some of the finest evergreen classic children’s books that are still cherished today by new generations of fans both young and old.

Admired for his ability to wed and rhyme hilarious word choices, which were born from conscious deliberation, Silverstein produced some of the most delightful books of poetry that capture the carefree silliness of childhood.

Children gravitate to his distinctive style and grasp his works quite easily. His simple line drawings are the perfect adjunct to his text and help add focus as well as promote imagination and discussion.

Early last week, HarperCollins posthumously published a new title of Silverstein’s poems and drawings, Everything On It, which had been compiled from Silverstein’s archives and selected by his family for publication.

Everything On It, is an outstanding collection of more than 130 never-before-released poems and line drawings, and is already garnering five-star reviews on Amazon.com.

Silverstein wore many other hats in addition to being a children’s poet/author and illustrator, he was also an accomplished playwright, screenwriter, recording artist, composer, and lyricist whose music has been performed by such legends as:  Kris Kristoffersonthe Irish Rovers; the late Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash. In fact, it was Silverstein’s song, “A Boy Named Sue,” which was performed by Cash that won Silverstein a coveted GRAMMY in 1970.

If you’re not familiar with the writings of Shel Silverstein, his “Official” website, ShelSilverstein.com is a wonderful place to start, and is presented in a choice of “high” or “low” bandwidth for custom navigation.

The site is geared to children, parents and educators. For kids there are free and entertaining games, puzzles, downloads, animations and e-cards. For parents/educators there are complimentary lessons and activities, event kits, drawing and activity booklets along with a list of all of his books, which includes sample excerpts and on-line buying resources.

If you are interested in reading the multitude of four and mostly five star reviews his other books elicit, Amazon.com has a special Silverstein author page, or check with your local library for recommendations.

In 1964, Silverstein opted for a change of writing pace and created one of his most memorable works, The Giving Tree, a parable about giving from the heart without expectation, a lesson that is as fresh today as when it was first penned.

Over the years, The Giving Tree’s sage and simple message has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Below, for your enjoyment is an animated video of Giving Tree that was produced and narrated by Shel Silverstein in 1973.

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