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.
February 14, 2014
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