I wasn’t even aware of Every Thing on It until a few weeks ago, but I had to snatch it up as soon as I saw it. It was published in September 2011, over a decade after his death in 1999.
I grew up reading A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I couldn’t wait for my daughter to be old enough to enjoy the poems and simple drawings in my copies of those two books.
The feel behind the poems is still the same. Sometimes they’re just silly and sometimes there’s something for the parents to either be amused by or take away for later thought, like “Food Blues,” a complaint that nothing’s really safe to eat.
The quality of poetry is still the same as all the previous books, and I laughed at the absurdity and word play in several of them as I read them out loud to my daughter. We cracked up as we looked at the illustrations, which are always hilarious.
A few things I would imagine to be taken as humorous as a kid really resonated with me as an adult. For example, who hasn’t felt like going “anywhere but here”? There’s a poem called “Unhappy Here” about getting away, and it ends with, “‘Cause wherever it is, I’ll be happier thereâ€”So please ship meâ€”send meâ€”mail me somewhere.”
I think this book appeals to children and adults in different ways (and sometimes the same way) and I recommend it if you’ve enjoyed Shel Silverstein books in the past. If you’ve never read any of his books, definitely go check this one out.
Photo credit: Barnes & Noble