A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn about Shel Silverstein's magical and enchanting world of poetry, and learn to appreciate poetry in general. The site itself is limited: It simply provides an opportunity for some extra interaction with Shel's words and characters. However, kids can learn a lot about what makes a poem, different kinds of poems, and writing poems from the printable activity sheets. More varied activities that allow for creative interactions, rotating poetry content, and personalized experiences would really enhance the site's learning potential.
Shel's poems are empowering and can get kids excited about poetry. Though be aware that the empowering message isn't always what parents might want: the kids' page has a drawing depicting a demonstration for kids' "rights," which include fewer school hours and more junk food.
Violence & Scariness
Some of the poetry has mild references to aggressive acts. For example, in "Cutting Kate," the characters get revenge on Kate by chasing her with various items, including a garden hoe, and "cutting" scissors.
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Products & Purchases
The site is one big advertisement for Shel's books, all of which are available for sale.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that ShelSilverstein.com is showcase site for Shel Silverstein's poetry that features lots of his fun, quirky drawings, a few games, and some limited opportunities for general poetry exploration. The teachers and parents section has a variety of printable poetry worksheets that use Shel's poems to introduce kids to the world of poetry and encourage them to write their own poems. And, of course, there are links to purchase all of Shel's books.
Is It Any Good?
Though it functions much as an advertisement for his books, ShelSilverstein.com is a nice addition for kids already enamored by Shel's poetry or as an entertaining way to introduce potential admirers to his often-quirky world. Kids who know Shel's poems will likely enjoy the games, but game content doesn't change (the featured poems are always the same), so kids will quickly exhaust the offerings. Only one game allows kids creative license to create their own poems.
However both the site and Shel's poems do have the potential to get kids excited about poetry and reading. And though the printables are also strictly focused on Shel's poetry, they offer great ways to introduce kids to poetry fundamentals like rhyme and rhythm, types of poems, and stimulate poetry discussion and creation. In all, ShelSilverstein.com, with heavy support from its printables, offers a decent launching pad for further poetry exploration.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.