A second posthumous collection from the archives of the multitalented Silverstein is definitely a cause for celebration.
"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." This and 129 other poems chosen by Silverstein's family see light here for the first time. Those vexed by the relentless spoonerisms of 2005's Runny Babbit will delight that these buried gems are different each to each. There are tales of garlic breath and child-eating plants (and child-eating land sharks and a horse that's pretty hungry). There are admonitions never to eat a snake (whole) or look up the chimney for Santa. The poems vary in length as much as in subject matter, running from a line or two to several pages. Silverstein's inspired word play and impish sense of humor are in abundant evidence. His signature line drawings accompany many of the poems and complete the jokes of some. If there are one or two that feel a bit flat, the hijinks or silly grossness of the next poem more than make up for them. "When I am gone what will you do? / Who will write and draw for you? / Someone smarter—someone new? / Someone better—maybe YOU!"
Adults who grew up with Uncle Shelby will find themselves wiping their eyes by the time they get to the end of this collection; children new to the master will find themselves hooked. (Poetry. All ages)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
This posthumous collection of Silverstein's poems and illustrations is not only familiar in design, but chockfull of the whimsical humor, eccentric characters, childhood fantasies, and iconoclastic glee that his many fans adore. Like the boy who orders a hot dog "with everything on it" ("...it came with a parrot,/ A bee in a bonnet,/ A wristwatch, a wrench, and a rake"), there are plenty of surprises in store for readers. Although a few poems feel a tad fragmentary, overall the volume includes some of Silverstein's strongest work, brilliantly capturing his versatility and topsy-turvy viewpoint. The poems take expectedly unexpected twists (Walenda the witch rides a vacuum cleaner); a few are gross ("Let's just say/ I took a dare," reads "Mistake," as Silverstein shows a snake trailing out of a boy's pair of shorts, its tail still entering through his mouth), but many more display Silverstein's clever wordplay, appreciation of everyday events, and understated wisdom. "There are no happy endings./ Endings are the saddest part,/ So just give me a happy middle/ And a very happy start." The silly-for-the-sake-of-silly verses are nicely balanced with sweetly contemplative offerings, including a poignant final poem that offers an invitation to readers: "When I am gone what will you do?/ Who will write and draw for you?/ Someone smarter--someone new?/ Someone better--maybe YOU!" All ages. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 4 Up--Silverstein pushes playful poesy to its limits with drawings that are as strange and wonderful as the artist's earlier collections. The title selection, a list poem imagining a hot dog with literally "everything on it," is an apt metaphor for this posthumous collection of new work that includes poems, riddles, surprise endings, poems of creature foibles and fables, wry social commentary, and, of course, the idiosyncratic line drawings that spell Silverstein. In "Turning Into," a boy swings from a tree shouting "wow," and when he topples to the ground, he finds that his "wow" is now "MOM." In another illustration, a man is so in love with himself that he has twisted his neck to get a better look. Some poems are lyrical: a rainbow thrower "hurls his colors/Cross the sky" while a rainbow catcher waits at "Horizon's gate." Perhaps the most poignant is "The Clock Man," in which the question, "How much will you pay for an extra day?" is answered throughout life's stages. Like the boy holding the delightfully absurd hot dog with everything piled upon it, this collection offers a Silverstein smorgasbord that won't linger on the library shelves.--Tess Pfeifer, Springfield Renaissance School, MA[Page 486]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.