Friday, February 16, 2007

Book Review Contest: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Title: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Author/Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
Reviewer: Stephanie

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
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.

You have until February 23 to enter our Blogaversary Children's Book Review Contest to win some great new books. Click here for details and send your submissions to


daddy in a strange land said...

My dogeared copies of this and "The Light in the Attic" are on The Pumpkin's shelf right now. Haven't started reading them to her yet, but I can't wait!

honglien123 said...

Oh man, I remember Shel Silverstein, I memorized one of his poems to recite in 5th grade and I think it was from Where the Sidewalk Ends but I'm not sure.

I even still remember most of that poem too...

Stringbean Small was tall and slim
Basketball seemed meant for him
At 6 foot (something, i forget)
A coach's dream
And yet he failed to make the team

And then something about dribbling the basketball and not nibbling it. Ah, kids get all the best books. =)

Mama Nabi said...

Although my personal Silverstein fav is "The Giving Tree", I must say that I too am eagerly waiting the day when I can read these to LN and watch her laugh.

thisislarry said...

OK, I just dont get this book. Maybe because I never read it as a child, but had heard so much about it, that I expected to love it as an adult.

Rabbit Dragon got a copy a year ago or so, and we read a few of the poems together, but I just didnt get it. Dr Seuss is more fun, and Edward Gorey is funnier. Must be a kid thing.

And some of the illustrations are kinda creepy.

My wife received the Giving Tree from a friend when she graduated HS, and its a great story (tho by the end you wanna tell the tree to get a life!), but I just dont get the allure of "where the sidewalk ends".

superdumb said...

This is probably totally irrelevant but Lush makes a shampoo called Cynthia Sylvia Stout (made with Guinness!). When I first saw it on the shelf, it cracked me up because I remembered the poem... around the same time, I found a Shel Silverstein LP at a thrift store. It is also hilarious, but not necessarily for kids.