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Shel Silverstein

Biography

Shel Silverstein

"And now, children, your Uncle Shelby is going to tell you a story about a very strange lion- in fact, the strangest lion I have ever met." So begins Shel Silverstein's very first children's book, LAFCADIO, THE LION WHO SHOT BACK. It's funny and sad and has made readers laugh and think since it was published in 1963. It was followed the next year by three more books.

The first of them, THE GIVING TREE, is a moving story about the love of a tree for a boy. Shel returned to humor the same year with A GIRAFFE AND A HALF, delighting readers with a most riotous ending. The third book in 1964 was UNCLE SHELBY'S ZOO DON'T BUMP THE GLUMP! AND OTHER FANTASIES, Shel's first poetry collection, and his first and only book illustrated in full color. It combined his unique imagination and bold brand of humor in this collection of silly and scary creatures.

Shel's second collection of poems and drawings, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, was published in 1974. His recording of the poems won him a Grammy for best Children's Album. In this collection, Shel invited children to dream and dare to imagine the impossible, from a hippopotamus sandwich to the longest nose in the world.

With his next collection of poems and drawings, A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC, published in 1981, Shel asked his readers to turn the light on in their attics, to put something silly in the world, and not to be discouraged by the Whatifs. Instead he urged readers to catch the moon or invite a dinosaur to dinner- to have fun! A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC was the first children's book to break onto the New York Times Bestseller List, where it stayed for a record-breaking 182 weeks.

The last book that was published before his death in 1999 was FALLING UP (1996). Like his other books, it is filled with unforgettable characters. Shel Silverstein's legacy continued with the release of a new work, RUNNY BABBIT, the first posthumous publication conceived and completed before his death and released in March 2005. Witty and wondrous, RUNNY BABBIT is a poetry collection of simple spoonerisms, which twist the tongue and tease the mind.

DON'T BUMP THE GLUMP! AND OTHER FANTASIES was recently reissued in 2008 after being unavailable for over 30 years. Shel was always a believer in letting his work do the talking for him --- few authors have ever done it better.

Shel Silverstein