Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Strict Pick: EVERYTHING ON IT by Shel Silverstein
One of my fondest memories of first grade (and yes, I remember first grade very well--I'm odd like that) was my teacher doing a very dramatic, and very drawn-out reading of "Peanut Butter Sandwich." It's one of those formative things as a writer, the kind that you remember dozens of years later because you hear words being used like that and think, "How do I do that?"
Of course, I think it takes someone like Silverstein to be Silverstein. To get the quirky and the touching, and the brilliantly wacky illustrations all in one. 1999 was a sad year, to see a man whose poems I'd memorized gone forever (I've been known to quote "How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes" at people whenever I'm stuck in that "awful, boring chore").
That said, posthumous books usually suck. The way I figure it, if you didn't publish it during your lifetime, it's probably because it wasn't good enough. PIRATE LATITUDES by Crichton is a pretty prime example of this. So I was wary until I set my hands on this one on the SOS cart.
The poetry is just as sharp as always, the drawings every bit as intriguing and absurd. Perhaps this collection might turn out to be even more funny-quirky than usual, because after all the things he did publish, you have to start wondering what was so crazy even he considered it too off-the-wall. I read about a dozen poems in the book while shelving it, and they brought back wonderful memories of reciting and laughing at WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS and A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC.
So tonight, I'm going to curl down with FALLING UP, and then tomorrow, dive into EVERYTHING. You should, too.
Jessica S. Schley was once a pusher of very important papers for a small commercial nonfiction house. Nowadays, she divides her time between bookselling, being a grad student, and writing contemporary fiction for young adults.
- ► 2012 (33)
- In Brief: Nelogism
- Writing Hack: Launch Your WIP With Your Keyboard (...
- In Brief: Longterm Pride
- Strict Pick: EVERYTHING ON IT by Shel Silverstein
- Writing Hack: Use an E-Reader to Organize your "To...
- In Brief: Don't Need a Title Computer
- Blog rec: Bookavore
- Strict Pick: PERFECT by Ellen Hopkins
- Writing Hack: Prepping the first 5
- In Brief: Write First
- Strict Pick: BUMBLE-ARDY by Maurice Sendak
- Writing Hack: Firewall Your Attention with a Lamp ...
- In Brief: BICHOK*
- ▼ September (13)