A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Where the Sidewalk Ends is a terrific introduction to the breadth and diversity of poetry. There are short poems and long ones, rhyming and non-rhyming verses, epigrams, and visual poems.
Positive MessagesAmid the silliness, Silverstein sneaks in words of wisdom: gentle prodding to take risks, to daydream, to consider other points of view, to be a good person ... but not to follow rules blindly.
Positive Role ModelsSilverstein models gentleness and kindheartedness. He professes a fondness for "hug o' war" rather than tug o' war, for example. He writes with knowing affection for thumbsuckers, enjoys a laugh with tellers of tall tales, and encourages his readers to actively engage with the world.
Violence & ScarinessThe poems flirt with dark territory, but are never frightening: There's a man whose co-worker accidentally hammers a nail through his head, a chef short on ingredients who resorts to making "Me-Stew," a child's lament that someone (burp) ate the baby, and insatiable Hungry Mungry, who starts by devouring his supper and then the universe and finally himself.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Where the Sidewalk Ends is a beloved collection of humorous poems and drawings first published by Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree) in 1974. Some poems are a bit macabre -- a skinny boy who disappears down the bathtub drain, a crocodile with a toothache who chomps a sadistic dentist, and so on. But there's compassion and morality in here too, leavened with comic mayhem. Great as a read aloud for pre-readers, a book for beginning readers, and a surefire hit with third and fourth graders who get a kick out of reading and reciting the many funny poems.
Is It Any Good?
Did we miss something on diversity?
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