Title: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Author/Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
As a child, I was not much of a reader. I preferred to play outside in the dirt, ride my bike with my next door neighbor and play board games. My sister and mother have been lifelong readers, and I think that it was a disappointment to my mother that I wasn’t as enthusiastic about books as she was. The one exception was the book Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Filled with fanciful drawings and funny, ridiculous and sometimes very poignant poems, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a wonderful book for children of all ages.
One of my favorite poems from the book, titled “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout would not take the garbage out,” is about a little girl who didn’t finish her chores.
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.
When finally the garbage touched the sky and no one would come over to play anymore, she decides to take out the garbage. Of course, it is too late and now she has to live with the consequences.
Another one, “Listen to the Mustn’ts,” is just beautiful.
Listen to the MUSN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me –
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
My mother and sister are still both readers, and as an adult I have joined the ranks of those who love books. I now spend time reading daily to my almost five year old daughter Leah (her current favorite being the Junie B. Jones series) and I plan to introduce the wonderful poems of Where the Sidewalk Ends to her soon.
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