Every Thing on It

Common Sense Media says

Another classic poetry collection by the master of whimsy.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Exposes kids to poetry in the most accessible way, with short poems, ideas they can grasp and relate to -- birthdays, dirty feet, the dentist, hot dogs -- and lots of whimsical, engaging line drawings. 

Positive messages

The poems are upbeat, conveying a lighthearted approach to life, an amused acceptance of its challenges, and abundant good humor. The implicit message seems to be you can always find something funny about whatever predicament you're in. 

Positive role models

The characters in these pages take chances and never let life get them down. For example, "Slam Dunker," in just four lines, offers a workaround for the vertically challenged: Short guys can play basketball/ You really don't have to be seven feet tall/ If you got the want-to and you got the try/ (And you got a basket that's four feet high). 

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is a collection of 145 previously unpublished poems and illustrations by the late Shel Silverstein, author of The Giving TreeA Giraffe and a Half, and the poetry collections Falling Up and A Light in the Attic. The subject matter is all G-rated. Edgiest content is a punch line about pee in "Housebroken": The puppy is housebroken at last?/ Lord only knows he was needin' it/ You've trained him to go/ On the newspaper? Fine./ But please -- not while I'm readin' it.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

This is the first posthumous collection of poems and line drawings published since Silverstein died in 1999. He lives on in these kid-friendly gems that reflect his vast imagination and his undaunted spirit as he makes lemonade out of life's lemons. The tone ranges from wry observation to fanciful speculation to outright silliness.

Is it any good?


Silverstein's mastery is on display as he takes mundane or imagined situations and spins them into laughs or meaningful observations. Many of his poems are bite-sized -- just two to six lines longs. Most reflect a kid-like goofiness, some reveal the mature wisdom of someone who remains young at heart, as in "The Dollhouse": You can't crawl back in the dollhouse --/ You've gotten too big to get in./ You've got to live here/ Like the rest of us do./ You've got to walk roads/ That are winding and new./ But oh, I wish I could/ Crawl back with you./ Into the dollhouse again. 

Silverstein's line drawings are the perfect accompaniment to his flights of fancy. Some characters have the deadpan, overburdened demeanor of a person in a New Yorker cartoon. Some have the loose, offhanded look of a notebook doodle. All are guaranteed to give a lift to readers of any age. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a good poem. Is it the rhyme? The rhythm? The way you can say a lot in just a few words? 

  • What makes Shel Silverstein's poems funny? He's not telling jokes, but sometimes he makes you laugh out loud. How does he use humor to get his point across? 

  • Maybe you would like to try writing a poem. Silverstein writes about everyday things like a hot dog, a blow dryer, and cowboy boots, but also about made-up things, like a man-eating plant, a car with legs instead of wheels, a stairway to the sun. And sometimes he just plays with words, like "a lizard in a blizzard." What do you think you could write a poem about? 

Book details

Author:Shel Silverstein
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:September 20, 2011
Number of pages:208
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:9 - 12
Read alone:9 - 12

This review of Every Thing on It 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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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK 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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Kid, 9 years old November 27, 2011

love it

i got this book for my 9 year old for christmas.she loved it i loved it . i hope this helped
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 9 year old Written byvalley girl March 20, 2013

Kept us laughing.....

My son thoroughly enjoyed this book. We would both sit on the bed and read the poems to each other...each one funnier than the next! A fun and great introduction for children to get into reading and loving poems.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages


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