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Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)

by Shel Silverstein

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This book is a fantastic collection of poems written by Shel Silverstein, one of my favorites! Overall, I would theme this collection as “letting your imagination run wild”. Almost all of the poems in this book seem to be told through a child’s wild imagination from haunted houses to unicorns. I like this book very much for many reasons. For one thing, the simplicity of the poems and the drawings allow the reader to focus on the words and the use of their imagination without filling your mind with overdrawn images. For example, in the poem, Instructions, which tells about an armadillo being bathed. All you see is the inked drawing of an armadillo with its head tucked out of view. There is no bath or expression, so the reader is able to form their own mental image using their imagination. Another reason that I love this book is the made up names that Silverstein gives some of the characters. For example, he creates characters such as The Yipiyuk, The Bloath, and The Flying Festoon. Again, it expresses imagination and fantasy. Finally, I love the scattered sentimental poems that are tucked away in between the humorous ones. My favorite is No Difference, which is a poem about everyone being the same and not letting your outside appearances or you status define you and that we are all made equally. The last stanza reads…
So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light! ( )
  KristyPratt | Apr 21, 2015 |
In my opinion, this is a great book that should be used as an introduction for poetry for children in the classrooms. The language is descriptive and nonsensical that keeps children engaged. The author writes poems using lines such as "the Glurpy Slurpy Skakagrall- That's standing right behind you." Lines such as this are fun for children to read and help practice their phonetic skills, while also keeping them entertained. Aside from the nonsensical words, the writing is very well paced and organized in a way that children can easily keep up with the rhyming words and begin to start reading in a specific rhythm. Although many of the characters in this books are made up, children can easily relate to the characters from characters in their own imaginations being brought to life in a story. This story is organized as a collection of poems, and because of this, the reader can start reading in the middle of the book, and not be to lost as to what is happening in the story. However, the story does do a good job of presenting a series of events in each and every poem that is presented. The illustrations are in black and white, however, they are very engaging and go along well with the poems in their simplicity. If there were anymore colors or details in the pictures I feel that it would be distracting for the reader. This book has many different big ideas, because each poem addresses a different idea, such as the poem "tell me" that discusses the importance of telling the truth to others. Each poem can be analyzed to have its own big idea. ( )
  agassa1 | Apr 20, 2015 |
This book is a boy turns to the TV and lots of fanasty things happening like sisters are auctioned off and crocodiles go to the dentist. This book is very funny and has great drawing too.
My personal reaction about this book is a great book to read when learning poetry and a be fun too.
One classroom extenion could be drawing you favorite thing from the book like the crocodile at the dentist or a girl who eats a whale.
Second classroom extenion could be having the kids write down words that rhyme.
  b.duggins13 | Apr 16, 2015 |
This book is a collection of poems from Shel Silverstein. Many of the poems are geared towards children and have pictures either incorporated into the poem, or off to the side to explain the message. They are all very simple to understand and read and also very cute.
I love this collection of poems, and I’ve read them since I was a child. There are so many different poems you can read, and they’re all about a wide range of things that children can relate to.
Extension Ideas:
1) Students can create their own poems and drawings to go with them.
2) I can have students read poems and write a journal, comparing two different poems.
  GSoto95 | Apr 15, 2015 |
Summary: Do you like to dream whether it be at night or even a daydreamer? Enter this dream and walk til the sidewalk ends, and the dream begins. There is a boy who turns into a TV set a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes do fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.

Personal Reaction: Why cant i have the imagination of this author? I left my room while reading this book. I was so caught in the bizarre scenarios that would not happen today.

Classroom Extension: Students make a poem of their day.
  estep13 | Apr 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 340 (next | show all)
There's some nice, lively stuff in here, good for reading aloud on a sleety weekend afternoon. Just don't make it the only book of verse on the children's shelves.
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For Ursula..
First words
If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...

If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

I will not play at tug o’ war.

I’d rather play at hug o’ war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs,

Where everyone giggles

And rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses,

And everyone grins,

And everyone cuddles,

And everyone wins.
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in Hebrew
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Book description
I think these are great poems that stand the length of time. What really stands out about Shel Silverstein is that his work is not just for children. His work has a place in probably 3rd grade on up. They are silly and funny which make children really want to listen. This is good poetry to start introducing this type of literature to children. The deeper meaning of these poems can also be discussed analyzed by older children.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060256672, Hardcover)

Shel Silverstein shook the staid world of children's poetry in 1974 with the publication of this collection, and things haven't been the same since. More than four and a half million copies of Where the Sidewalk Ends have been sold, making it the bestselling children's poetry book ever. With this and his other poetry collections (A Light in the Attic and Falling Up), Silverstein reveals his genius for reaching kids with silly words and simple pen-and-ink drawings. What child can resist a poem called "Dancing Pants" or "The Dirtiest Man in the World"? Each of the 130 poems is funny in a different way, or touching ... or both. Some approach naughtiness or are a bit disgusting to squeamish grown-ups, but that's exactly what kids like best about Silverstein's work. Jim Trelease, author of The New Read-Aloud Handbook, calls this book "without question, the best-loved collection of poetry for children." (Ages 4 to 10)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:22 -0400)

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A boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale are only two of the characters in a collection of humorous poetry illustrated with the author's own drawings.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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