The Norman Transcript

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November 30, 2013

Shel Silverstein’s works are classics

NORMAN — A few weeks ago, I was asked what was my favorite children’s book. The only answer I had was anything by Shel Silverstein. A weird answer to some, but I couldn’t tell you one specific book. They were all just too good.

Interestingly enough, in the late 1980s if you ever went to the Arkansas City, Kan., public library and wanted to read a copy of “Where The Sidewalk Ends,” chances are you were fresh out of luck.

I had managed to check that book out for weeks on end until my mother so politely said once, “Maybe we should let another little girl enjoy this book for a while.”

I knew she was right, but it was still hard to part ways with the best literature, at the time, I’d ever read.

You’d think after weeks and weeks of reading that I would have every poem memorized and I wouldn’t need to check out a book. But, for some reason, I had to have it in my possession at all times. Since then, I’ve managed to own my own copy of “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” so no library is in danger of a shortage.

My favorite poem from Silverstein is about a little girl named Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout. She refused to take the garbage out. Since this is not my favorite household chore, I immediately took up a liking.

Sarah would cook, she’d scrub a pan, but she wouldn’t take the garbage out. Eventually, the garbage consumed the family and things got a bit out of hand.

For those of you new to the poem, I won’t ruin the ending. Chances are, you can find the book at the library.

Another favorite is “Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too.” They all went in a ride in a flying shoe. I always imagined they were brothers, if not cousins. The story doesn’t let you know. Another sign of good literature — you have to come to your own conclusion.

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