Friday, September 30, 2011

Celebrate the Freedom to Read: WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

Ashley Roach celebrates

Every child loves the silly and hilarious poems Shel Silverstein concocted and sold by the million, but it is not until adulthood that one realizes the dark absurdity and brilliance of short poems about eating your baby sibling, or making a true and serious mess of the kitchen, or the tragic and mysterious disappearance of three men flying in a shoe.

He was a performer as well as a writer and his performances of his own poems are not to be missed, though strange and offsetting - he liked to growl and squeak and sing song rather than simply read. Silverstein, like Maurice Sendak, understood that children are not innocents, but are just as complicated and interested in dark and dreamy things as adults are - and he wrote to that aspect in children and adults. No wonder he was loved mightily, and frequently challenged.

Ashley Roach, Central Library


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