Published on October 26, 2007
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Where the Sidewalk Ends the poems of Shel Silverstein About the Author: About the Author Silverstein was born on Sept. 25, 1932, in Chicago. He had little formal education, but started writing at a young age. He served in the military in Japan and Korea during the `50s and was a cartoonist for the military newsletter, Pacific Stars and Stripes. In 1956 he began a lifelong association with Playboy magazine as a contributor of cartoons and poems. The success of his book The Giving Tree in 1964 propelled Silverstein to notoriety as a children's author. This simply illustrated book, somewhat enigmatic in message, was hailed as a poignant inspirational parable and became a best seller. He wrote eight more books for children, including poetry collections such as Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), A Light in the Attic (1981), and Falling Up (1998), and stories such as A Giraffe and a Half (1964) and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (1981). The first of these was one of the best selling hardcover books of all time, and a recording of Silverstein reading it won a Grammy Award in 1984. In 1979 he published a cartoon coffee-table book for adults, Different Dances. He is somewhat less well known for his songs, which include Johnny Cash's 1969 hit, "A Boy Named Sue," and for his plays, the most notable of which is The Lady or the Tiger (1981).Silverstein believed that children prefer to be treated not as innocents, but as similar to adults. His poems for young readers, often hilarious, may be sensitive and wistful, but are also candid enough to suggest a dark side. His work has been translated into 20 languages. Silverstein died on May 10, 1999, in Key West, Fl. Silverstein, Shel. Funk & Wagnalls® New Encyclopedia. (2005). Retrieved July 16, 2006, from unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/ Click Below to Access Poems: Click Below to Access Poems Eighteen Flavors Melinda May Sick Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too Jimmy Jet and His TV Set For Sale Crocodile’s Toothache Boa Constrictor Peanut-Butter Sandwich Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out Captain Hook With His Mouth Full of Food The Flying Festoon The Silver Fish The Generals The Worst Dreadful My Beard Eighteen Flavors: Eighteen Flavors Click here to access Poem selection page. Eighteen luscious, scrumptious flavors – Chocolate, lime, and cherry, Coffee, pumpkin, fudge-banana, Caramel cream and boysenberry, Rocky road and toasted almond, Butterscotch, vanilla dip, Butter brickle, apple ripple, Coconut and mocha chip, Brandy peach and lemon custard, Each scoop lovely, smooth, and round, Tallest ice-cream cone in town, Lying there *sniff* on the ground. Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Melinda Mae: Melinda Mae Click here to access Poem selection page. Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae, Who ate a monstrous whale? She thought she could, She said she would, So she started in right at the tail. And everyone said," You're much too small," But that didn't bother Melinda at all, She took little bites and she chewed very slow, Just like a good girl should... ...and eighty-nine years later she ate that whale Because she said she would!!! Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Sick: Sick Click here to access Poem selection page. "I cannot go to school today," Said little Peggy Ann McKay, "I have the measles and the mumps, A gash, a rash, and purple bumps. My mouth is wet, my throat is dry, I'm going blind in my right eye. My tonsils are as big as rocks, I've counted sixteen chicken pox And there's one more--that's seventeen, And don't you think my face looks green? My leg is cut, my eyes are blue-- It might be instamatic flu. I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke, I'm sure that my left leg is broke-- My hip hurts when I move my chin, My belly button's caving in, My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained, My 'pendix pains each time it rains. My nose is cold, my toes are numb, I have a sliver in my thumb. My neck is stiff, my voice is weak, I hardly whisper when I speak. My tongue is filling up my mouth, I think my hair is falling out. My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight, My temperature is one-o-eight. My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear, There is a hole inside my ear. I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what? What's that? What's that you say? You say today is---Saturday? G'bye, I'm going out to play!" Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too: Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too Click here to access Poem selection page. Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too Went for a ride in a flying shoe. "Hooray!" "What fun!" "It's time we flew!" Said Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too. Ickle was captain, and Pickle was crew And Tickle served coffee and mulligan stew As higher And higher And higher they flew, Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too. Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too, Over the sun and beyond the blue. "Hold on!" "Stay in!" "I hope we do!" Cried Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too. Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle too Never returned to the world they knew, And nobody Knows what's Happened to Dear Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too. Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Jimmy Jet and His TV Set: Jimmy Jet and His TV Set Click here to access Poem selection page. I'll tell you the story of Jimmy Jet – And you know what I tell you is true. He loved to watch his TV set Almost as much as you. He watched all day, he watched all night Till he grew pale and lean, From "The Early Show" to "The Late Late Show" And all the shows between. He watched till his eyes were frozen wide, And his bottom grew into his chair. And his chin turned into a tuning dial, And antennae grew out of his hair. And his brains turned into TV tubes, And his face to a TV screen. And two knobs saying "VERT." and "HORIZ." Grew where his ears had been. And he grew a plug that looked like a tail So we plugged in little Jim. And now instead of him watching TV We all sit around and watch him. Click here to access Shel reading this poem. For Sale: For Sale Click here to access Poem selection page. One sister for sale! One sister for sale! One crying and spying young sister for sale! I’m really not kidding. So who’ll start the bidding? Do I hear a dollar? A nickel? A penny? Oh, isn’t there, isn’t there, isn’t there any One kid who will buy this old sister for sale, This crying and spying young sister for sale? Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Crocodile’s Toothache: Crocodile’s Toothache Click here to access Poem selection page. Oh the Crocodile Went to the dentist And sat down in the chair, And the dentist said, "Now tell me, sir, Why does it hurt and where?" And the Crocodile said, "I'll tell you the truth, I have a terrible ache in my tooth," And he opened his jaws so wide, so wide, That the dentist, he climbed right inside, And the dentist laughed, "Oh, isn't this fun?" As he pulled the teeth out, one by one. And the crocodile cried, "You're hurting me so! Please put down your pliers and let me go." But the dentist just laughed with a Ho Ho Ho, And he said, "I still have twelve to go -- Oops, that's the wrong one I confess, But what's one crocodile tooth, more or less?" Then suddenly, the jaws went SNAP, And the dentist was gone, right off the map, And where he went one could only guess...... To North or South or East or West...... He left no forwarding address. But what's one Dentist more or less? Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Boa Constrictor: Boa Constrictor Click here to access Poem selection page. I'm being eaten by a Boa Constrictor, A Boa Constrictor, A Boa Constrictor. I'm being eaten by a Boa Constrictor, And I don't like it one bit. Whadaya know, it's nibblin' my toe. Oh gee, it's up to my knee. Oh, my, it’s up to my thigh. Oh fiddle, it's up to my middle. Oh heck, it's up to my neck. Oh dread, it's mm-mm-mm-mm... Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Peanut-Butter Sandwich: Peanut-Butter Sandwich Click here to access Poem selection page. I’ll sing you a poem of a silly young king Who played with the world at the end of a string, But he only loved one single thing -- And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich. His scepter and his royal gowns, His regal throne and golden crowns Were brown and sticky from the mounds And drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich. His subjects all were silly fools For he had passed a royal rule That all that they could learn in school Was how to make a peanut-butter sandwich. He would not eat his sovereign steak, He scorned his soup and kingly cake, And told his courtly cook to bake An extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich. And then one day he took a bite And started chewing with delight, But found his mouth was stuck quite tight From that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich. His brother pulled, his sister pried, The wizard pushed, his mother cried, “My boy’s committed suicide From eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!” The dentist came, and the royal doc. The royal plumber banged and knocked, But still those jaws stayed tightly locked. Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich! The carpenter, he tried with pliers, The telephone man tried with wires, The firemen, they tried with fire, But couldn’t melt that peanut-butter sandwich. With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil, With steam and lubricating oil -- For twenty years of tears and toil -- They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich. Then all his royal subjects came. They hooked his jaws with grapplin’ chains And pulled both ways with might and main Against that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich. Each man and woman, girl and boy Put down their ploughs and pots and toys And pulled until kerack! Oh, joy -- They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich. A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak -- The king’s jaw opened with a creak. And then in voice so faint and weak -- The first words that they heard him speak Were, “How about a peanut-butter sandwich?” Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out: Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out Click here to access Poem selection page. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the garbage out! She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans, Candy the yams and spice the hams, And though her daddy would scream and shout, She simply would not take the garbage out. And so it piled up to the ceilings: Coffee grounds, potato peelings, Brown bananas, rotten peas, Chunks of sour cottage cheese. It filled the can, it covered the floor, It cracked the window and blocked the door With bacon rinds and chicken bones, Drippy ends of ice cream cones, Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel, Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal, Pizza crusts and withered greens, Soggy beans and tangerines, Crusts of black burned buttered toast, Gristly bits of beefy roasts. . . The garbage rolled on down the hall, It raised the roof, it broke the wall. . . Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs, Globs of gooey bubble gum, Cellophane from green baloney, Rubbery blubbery macaroni, Peanut butter, caked and dry, Curdled milk and crusts of pie, Moldy melons, dried-up mustard, Eggshells mixed with lemon custard, Cold french fried and rancid meat, Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat. At last the garbage reached so high That it finally touched the sky. And all the neighbors moved away, And none of her friends would come to play. And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said, "OK, I'll take the garbage out!" But then, of course, it was too late. . . The garbage reached across the state, From New York to the Golden Gate. And there, in the garbage she did hate, Poor Sarah met an awful fate, That I cannot now relate Because the hour is much too late. But children, remember Sarah Stout And always take the garbage out! Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Captain Hook: Captain Hook Click here to access Poem selection page. Captain Hook must remember Not to scratch his toes. Captain Hook must watch out And never pick his nose. Captain Hook must be gentle when he shakes your hand. Captain Hook must be careful Openin' sardine cans And playing tag and pouring tea And turnin‘ pages of his book. Lots of folks I'm glad I ain’t— But mostly Captain Hook! Click here to access Shel reading this poem. With His Mouth Full of Food: With His Mouth Full of Food Click here to access Poem selection page. Milford Dupree, though he knew it was rude, Talked with his mouth full of food. He never would burp or walk out of in the nude, But he talked with his mouth full of food. His mother said, "Milford, it's crude and it's lewd To talk with your mouth full of food. Why, even the milk cow who moo'd as she chewed Never talked with her mouth full of food And the cuckoo would never have ever cuckoo'd If he coo'd with his mouth full of food." His dad said, "Get married or go get tattooed, But don't talk with your mouth full of food. And if it was a crime, you would surely get sued. If you talked with your mouth full of food. Why just like an animal you should be zoo'd As you talk with your mouth full of food. Cause you know we're all put in a terrible mood When you talk with your mouth full of food." They pleaded and begged. He just giggled and chewed. He laughed with his mouth full of food. And all they advised him he simply poo-poo'd He poo-poo'd with his mouth full of food. So they sent for the gluer to have his mouth glued Cause he talked with his mouth full of food. And now instead of "Good morning", he says, "Gnu Murnood. I wun tuk win mny marf furu foog." Click here to access Shel reading this poem. The Flying Festoon: The Flying Festoon Click here to access Poem selection page. Oh, I’m going to ride on The Flying Festoon— I’ll jump on his back and I’ll whistle a tune, And we’ll fly to the outermost tip of the moon, The Flying Festoon and I. I’m taking a sandwich, and ball and a prune, And we’re leaving this evening precisely at noon, For I’m going to fly with The Flying Festoon… Just as soon as he learns how to fly. Click here to access Shel reading this poem. The Silver Fish: The Silver Fish Click here to access Poem selection page. While fishing in the blue lagoon I caught a lovely silver fish. And he spoke to me, “My boy,” quoth he “Please set me free and I’ll grant your wish… A kingdom of wisdom? A palace of gold? Or all the goodies your fancies can hold?” So I said, “OK,” and I threw him free, And he swam away and he laughed at me Whispering my foolish wish Into a silent sea. Today I caught that fish again, That lovely silver prince of fishes, And once again he offered me- If I would only set him free- Any one of a number of wonderful wishes… He was delicious! Click here to access Shel reading this poem. The Generals: The Generals Click here to access Poem selection page. Said General Clay to General Gore, "Oh must we fight this silly war? To kill and die is such a bore." "I quite agree," said General Gore. Said General Gore to General Clay, "We could go to the beach today And have some ice cream on the way." "A grand idea," said General Clay. Said General Clay to General Gore, "We’ll build sand castles on the shore." Said General Gore, "We’ll splash and play." "Let’s leave right now," said General Clay. Said General Gore to General Clay, "But what if the sea is closed today? And what if the sand’s been blown away?" "A dreadful thought," said General Clay. Said General Gore to General Clay, "I’ve always feared the ocean’s spray, And we may drown!" "It’s true, we may. It chills my blood," said General Clay. Said General Clay to General Gore, "My bathing suit is slightly tore. We’d better go on with our war." "I quite agree," said General Gore. Then General Clay charged General Gore As bullets flew and cannons roared. And now, alas! there is no more Of General Clay or General Gore. Click here to access Shel reading this poem. The Worst: The Worst Click here to access Poem selection page. When singing songs of scariness, Of bloodiness and hairyness, I feel obligated at this moment to remind you Of the most ferocious beast of all: Three thousand pounds and nine feet tall- The Glurpy Slurpy Shahagrall- Who’s standing right behind you. Click here to access Shel reading this poem. Dreadful: Dreadful Click here to access Poem selection page. Someone ate the baby. It's rather sad to say. Someone ate the baby So she won't be out to play. We'll never hear her whiney cry Or have to feel if she is dry. We'll never hear her asking "Why?" Someone ate the baby. Someone ate the baby. It's absolutely clear Someone ate the baby 'Cause the baby isn't here. We'll give away her toys and clothes. We'll never have to wipe her nose. Dad says, "That's the way it goes." Someone ate the baby. Someone ate the baby. What a frightful thing to eat! Someone ate the baby Though she wasn't very sweet. It was a heartless thing to do. The policemen haven't got a clue. I simply can't imagine who Would go and (burp) eat the baby. Click here to access Shel reading this poem. My Beard: My Beard Click here to access Poem selection page. My beard grows to my toes, I never wears no clothes, I wraps my hair Around my bare, And down the road I goes. Click here to access Shel reading this poem.