Shel Silverstein

Falling Up

Longlisted for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award Poetry Category

Book Title: Falling Up

Author & Illustrator: Shel Silverstein

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishing

ISBN: 9780062321336

Shel Silverstein was a unique writer, poet and cartoonist with a very distinct style. He is best known for his book ‘The Giving Tree’ and his children’s poetry books including ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’. The poetry book, ‘Falling Up’, was republished last year as a special edition after Shel’s death, with the addition of twelve never before published poems selected by the poet’s family.

Silverstein’s poems are full of strong imagery and rhythm. Whilst the language of the poems themselves is very simple, it is the way Silverstein plays with words that distinguishes his quirky and sometimes poignant style. Silverstein simply wrote about the things he knew that inspired him and combined these things with his wonderfully creative imagination.

No poem in this fabulous collection is redundant for use in a classroom setting. Each one provides an opportunity to discuss rhythm, rhyme and reflect upon meaning and the author’s intent.

So come and meet Danny O’Dare the dancing bear, Long-leg Lou & Short-leg Sue and Allison Beales and her 25 eels! And when you’ve enjoyed spending time with them, why not ride through the air with Mari-Lou on her rope swing, visit the Haunted House on Howlin’ Hill and learn the correct use for a Moose!

‘Underneath the poet tree

Come and rest a while with me

And watch the way the word web weaves

Between the shady story leaves.

The branches of the poet tree

Reach from the mountains to the sea.

So come and sit … and dream … and climb -

Just don’t get hit by falling rhymes.’

Personally, I adore Shel Silverstein’s work. I was given a copy of ‘The Giving Tree’ as a child and instantly fell in love with his style of writing and the opportunity it provided for reflection. A year later, I was given ‘Where The Sidewalk Ends’ and ‘A Light in the Attic’ and devoured them both. I have read them both many times over and now enjoy reading them with my children at school. 

Recommended to lovers of A. A. Milne and Dr Seuss and for those that would like a few more ideas for use in the classroom, there is a fantastic website with games, cartoons and teaching resources.