When I picked up Every Thing On It last fall, I expected the poems and illustrations so uniquely Shel Silverstein to remind me of being a kid again - silly, awkward, dreamy. And they did. But they did more. Several of his poems connected to my adult life - the questions, the pressures, the state of our world.
"Years From Now," starts the collection. "Although I cannot see your face / As you flip these poems awhile/ Somewhere from some far-off place / I hear you laughing - and I smile."
If the answer to the big question, "What is the meaning of life?" is to leave behind a legacy you can be proud of, Shel Silverstein's legacy of laughter, dreaming and thinking certainly fit the bill.
"Yesees and Noees" really stuck in my mind, too. "...So the Yesees all died of much too much / And the Noees all died of fright / But somehow I think the Thinkforyourselfees / All came out all right." What a straightforward way to point out the solution to surviving pressures.
As for the state of our world, we are often so afraid to be seen as different because differences get punished. But in "Masks", Shel Silverstein reveals to us, "She had blue skin / And so did he. He kept it hid / And so did she. They searched for blue / Their whole life through / Then passed right by - And never knew."
Just as The Giving Tree was considered both children's and adult literature, Every Thing On It can be, too.
Thank you, Shel Silverstein.
What's the best thing you've learned from a Shel Silverstein poem or book? – Kim
Kim is Store Manager at Cedar Rapids HPB in Marion, IA.