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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Every Thing On It

     Shel Silverstein's last(?) anthology is 194 pages of fun, fantasy and frivolity.  To paraphrase the title, it has 'everything in it' from poems and fanciful drawings of spiders, toilets, babies, and puppies to witches, giants, trampolines and lizards.  It even has a Zootch.  Silverstein was always the king of silly, and he showcases that perfectly with the hot dog with everything on it, including a wrist watch, a goldfish and a porch swing.  And who wouldn't love "28 Uses for Spaghetti"?  And the fun he has with language! Something as simple as this snippet from "The Kit-Eating Land Shark" made me smile from ear to ear :
'So let this be a lesson
to every shark and kid:
Just 'cause somethin' ain't been done
Don't mean it can't be did'

Silverstein throws in a few poems with a more serious tone for the adult reading along, such as "Wall Marks," "Dollhouse," and "Jake Says." He even makes a strong case for changing the Police Department to the Please Department.  There is something for everyone, particularly if you are a pelican lover, as no fewer than five poems showcased pelicans. Silverstein's pelicans play baseball, fall in love, take children for rides and lay eggs.  Or do they? 
His denouement "When I am Gone"  is the perfect call for the next generation of author-artists.  Shel's shoes will be hard to fill, but I am sure that thanks to this man, someone out there will be struck with an idea for a silly something-or-other "anywhere and anywhen..."
In the meantime, if you'd like to sample a hot dog with a different kind of everything on it, I highly recommend the "Junkyard Dog" at the Dune Dog in Jupiter, Florida.  Just tell them to hold the porch swing.

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