ShelSilverstein.com

Website review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
ShelSilverstein.com Website Poster Image
Poetry exploration site is a bit limited but a nice start.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The site is one big advertisement for Shel's books, all of which are available for sale.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

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What's it about?

SHELSILVERSTEIN.COM offers plenty of information about Shel, fun animations featuring characters from each of his books, and opportunities to buy his books. In the kids' section, kids can play a few limited poetry games based on Shel's poetry (like name that poem or write your own ending to Shel's poem), color in a few characters, print or download Shel's drawings, or send a Shel-themed ecard to a friend. The teachers and parents sections feature valuable printouts for learning about poetry and \"Shelebrating\" poetry month offline.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the poem type (rhyming or not rhyming, shaped poem, etc.) affects the overall feeling of a poem.

  • Where might Shel have found inspiration for his poems? Where might you find inspiration for writing poetry?

  • What other poets or poems do you know? How are their styles the same or different from that of Shel Silverstein?

Website details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love poetry and writing

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