Reading The Unscratchable Itch in Caramel’s review of The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham from last week reminded Marshmallow of Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic. Below she reviews this old favorite.
Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like poetry books, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Overview: This is a book of poems written for children by the author of the famous The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. Silverstein also wrote another poetry book for children called Where The Sidewalk Ends. He also wrote The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, which Caramel wants to review some day. (Oh no, I told you what Caramel is going to review!)
Marshmallow’s Favorites: My personal favorites are Fancy Dive, Peckin’, Ladies First, and Almost Perfect. I even memorized Fancy Dive and Peckin’ already.
I like Fancy Dive because it is funny but also involves a few broken bones.
The fanciest dive that ever was doveShel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic
Was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove.
She bounced on the board and flew into the air
With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair.
She did thirty-four jackknives, backflipped and spun,
Quadruple gainered, and reached for the sun,
And then somersaulted nine times and a quarter—
And looked down and saw that the pool had no water..
As you can tell from this example, many of the poems have an interesting twist in the end. There is a sense of Dr. Seuss in Shel Silverstein I think.
Peckin’ is very sad but humorous.
The saddest thing I ever did seeShel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic.
Was a woodpecker peckin’ at a plastic tree.
He looks at me and “Friend,” says he,
“Things ain’t as sweet as they used to be.
This poem reminds me of the tragic story of Nigel, the lonely gannet. This was a bird in New Zealand that fell in love with a concrete bird and stayed with the concrete bird and eventually died. Poor Nigel was faithful to the very end.
Ladies First is a good poem and so is Almost Perfect. In both poems, the main character is an annoying person who goes through life saying the same annoying phrase over and over again. Both Mary Hume (Almost Perfect) and Pamela Purse (Ladies First) get precisely what they deserve in the end.
There are over a hundred more poems in the whole book. You should check them out yourself!
Marshmallow’s Review: Shel Silverstein’s poems are funny almost all the time — some are sad, like Cloony the Clown — but they are always well written. They all sound good; I enjoy reading many of the poems out loud to Caramel. Almost all poems in the book come with an illustration (drawn by Shel Silverstein himself) that adds to its effect.
This is overall a very good book. I am currently rereading the book for the fifth time, and I expect to be rereading it again and again in the future.
Marshmallow’s rating: 100%