Falling Up



Silverstein has childhood covered like a rug.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Silverstein makes infrequent forays into bathroom humor, nose picking, and regurgitation.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the art in this book is inviting, and the style and economy of the writing, plus the subject matter, hold children's interest.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Shel Silverstein is on the loose with wise, witty, unconventional verse and electrifying line drawings. From thoughtful observations to bathroom humor, Silverstein has childhood covered like a rug. His insight and humor make this a favorite for adults as well as children.

Is it any good?


This book's expressive verse and narrative line drawings make a good match. A little girl bends over and looks through her legs: "Upside-down trees swingin' free, / Buses float and buildings dangle; / Now and then it's nice to see / The world--from a different angle." Another little girl looks right and left before crossing the street, while her tentative sense of safety is about to be erased by a falling safe.

Sometimes it's Silverstein's indecorum that lights up the page: "We gave you a chance / To water the plants. / We didn't mean that way-- / Now zip up your pants." The verse is quick and economical, the spirit unconventional, and the voice unique and distinctly American.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the poetry and language in this book. Does writing conjure up vivid images? What are some of your favorite passages, and why?

Book details

Author:Shel Silverstein
Illustrator:Shel Silverstein
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1996
Number of pages:171
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Falling Up was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old January 6, 2010
i really loved this book!!!! at some points in Falling Up, it was sad and yet some of the poems i didnt realy get bu a lot of the poems were VERY funny!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Kid, 12 years old October 3, 2011


The book may be one of the installments of a perfect kids series, but it's not that good of a book and also the most inappropriate installment. The book has an improper use of nudity that overshadows the rest of the installments. I would suggest reading a book of lighter levels, like Where the Sidewalk Ends.
What other families should know
Too much sex


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide