Title: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Author: Shel Silverstein
Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Number of Pages: 166
Pub. Date: 1974
Summary: This is a collection of poems for children covering topics of all sorts. From bagpipes to animals to lazy children, this book has a poem for everyone. They are all humorous and clever and feature some very interesting characters. Some of the poems tell tall tales, revel in silliness, make light of small anxieties, and give voice to outrageous things a kid would never, ever do - like bathe an armadillo, for instance, or make a hippopotamus sandwich, or spit from the twenty-sixth floor.
Critique: This book is definitely a high quality collection of poems. They are fun and engaging for a reader of any age and they have many elements of poetry that grant them this high-quality status. The poems definitely shed a fresh and original light on numerous topics, like a house full of spaghetti or what happens when you don’t take the garbage out! The voice in his poems is defiantly sincere. You can almost hear him talking to the reader, telling the story of how to make a hippo sandwich or how you have to take the two-tailed dog out for twice as many walks. He also uses great rhythm and flow in his writing that can be heard very well when his poems are read out loud. They also showcase a lot of rhyme and imagery, making his poems even more enjoyable to read.
Response: This was honestly one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I asked my mom if I had read it as a child and she said yes, you giggled all the way through it. In light of this, I felt it was appropriate to write my response about a part in the book that made me laugh. In this book it was many instances actually, so I will just pick a few. One of my favorite poems that made me laugh out loud was “The Dog with Two Tails.” Imagining this little dog running around with no head was just hilarious to me. As I know how much work dogs are the part about having to take them on twice and many walks and pick up twice as much ‘you know what’ really rang true with me. This was one that I just had to read out loud to everyone around me when I was reading it and it made them laugh out loud too! The other poem that made me smile and laugh was the poem “Hug O’ War.” It was just so playful and innocent that it really touched my heart and made me giggle too, just like it says in the poem!
A great extension activity for a whole class activity or even an activity in a poetry workstation would be to have students copy down a poem from the book and create their own illustration of what they think that poem would look like.
Here's my attempt at one!