Shel Sil­ver­stein

Mol­ly Kolpin
  • Review
February 14, 2014

This short biog­ra­phy takes a straight­for­ward look at the life of Shel Sil­ver­stein, from his child­hood in Chica­go (where he dreamed of play­ing base­ball for the Chica­go White Sox), to his stint in the army, to his work as a car­toon­ist and then children’s book author and illustra­tor, and final­ly to his sud­den and unex­pect­ed death. The book cov­ers the impor­tant facts and may be a good start­ing place for chil­dren inter­est­ed in Sil­ver­stein. What is miss­ing, how­ev­er, is any­thing to sug­gest the silli­ness and sub­ver­sion that was at the core of his writ­ing. It might have helped to include some short excerpts from his poems, or a car­toon or two. The book is a good choice for begin­ning or strug­gling read­ers — the side­bars and box­es used through­out make the going eas­i­er — but chil­dren will need to explore fur­ther to tru­ly under­stand Silverstein’s essence. Be aware that nowhere in this book is it men­tioned that best­selling children’s author Shel Sil­ver­stein was Jew­ish, though he was.

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