A Light in the Attic

Common Sense Media says

Poet delivers both a moral lesson and mischief.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

In light verse Shel Silverstein delivers both a moral lesson and mischief.

Positive role models

Behavior of the kind that gets its just rewards and the kind that kids use to test their limits are both in abundance.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the playful language and light look at (sometimes serious) subject matter keep kids entertained. The art is expressive and sometimes pleasingly over-the-top.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In light verse Shel Silverstein delivers both a moral lesson and mischief. Had everyone who ever read these poems followed their teachings, we would live in a funky, imagination-fevered world free of whiners, charlatans, spoiled brats, and losers.


Is it any good?


For many modern children, Shel Silverstein is their introduction to the joys of poetry. For decades he has tickled and enchanted generations of kids, and acted as a counterweight to the insipid poems they encounter in their basal readers. Silverstein looks at life from unexpected angles -- full of spirit and merriment and salad days. He sticks it to the naggers and the greedy and the lazy; their only recourse is to get a grip.

He gives voice to fears that are hard to express: "Last night, while I lay thinking here, / Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear." Said Whatifs quickly get to work: "Whatif they start a war? / Whatif my parents get divorced? / Whatif the bus is late? / Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight? / Whatif I tear my pants? / Whatif I never learn to dance?" The poems are complemented with Silverstein's expressive and innovative pen-and-ink illustrations.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the pleasure of these poems. Why do you enjoy them?

  • These are great poems for kids to perform aloud and could inspire kids to write their own poems.

Book details

Author:Shel Silverstein
Illustrator:Shel Silverstein
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1971
Number of pages:177
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of A Light in the Attic was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byhbanan624 April 28, 2009

I ? B-Ball and 24+10=BFFLANE

I'm sporty,smart,and tall.

Teen, 15 years old Written bydosho April 22, 2009

twistable turnable man

i need to read a poem from a famous poet and i think shel silverstein is one of them

Teen, 16 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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