Inderjit (@InderjitDeogun) is an Art History graduate, an environmentalist and a loud-and-proud bookworm. When she’s not fighting against climate change, she has her nose stuck in a book. With a particular love for children’s literature, Inderjit believes a word can be worth a thousand pictures. This is her second year participating in the 50 Book Pledge. To visit Inderjit’s bookshelf click here and be sure to check back monthly for her 50 Book Pledge updates!
Growing up I read Amelia Bedelia, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, Roald Dahl, Robert Munsch, Shel Silverstein, The Berenstein Bears, just to name several! So earlier this month when I had the hankering to read something fun, light and imaginative I decided on Silverstein. My love affair with his genius began with “Invitation” from Where the Sidewalk Ends.
Image: “Invitation” from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Have you ever read anything more inviting? (No pun intended!) When I was a kid, “Invitation” gave me the freedom to lose myself in my own stories and the stories of others. As my sister can attest, I still dream, wish and hope for the extraordinary that life can bring.
When I heard about Silverstein’s death back in 1999 I remember being deeply saddened, as though I had lost a friend. (I had spent so many hours reading his poems.) So the decision to read Every Thing On It now was not only about being entertained but also about saying goodbye. Like all his previous collections, I came away with a handful of new favourites: “Years From Now,” “The Genie in the Flask,” “Masks,” “Happy Ending?,” “Yesees and Noees,” “The Clock Man,” “Underface,” “After” and “When I Am Gone.”
I’ve always gravitated toward those of Silverstein’s poems that imparted the most important of life’s lessons in a handful of lines. But the one from Every Thing On It that really struck a chord with me was:
I’ve told you a hundred tall stories,
I’ve sung you a thousand sweet songs,
I’ve wrote you a million ridiculous rhymes
(Though sometimes the grammar was wrong).
I’ve drawn you a zillion pictures,
So being as fair as can be,
After all that I’ve writtensungtolddrawn for you,
Won’t you writesingtelldraw one for me?
So to be “as fair as can be” I decided to answer his call with these three poems:
Paper is no bully.
It accepts you fully.
The words you write
Don’t give it a fright.
So grab a pen.
Head to the den.
And spin a tale
That all will hail.
I am me.
Who else would I be?
Jen, Meghan or Sue?
No, thank you!
So don’t you mind.
And take me
As I be.
My head is stuck in a book.
Not in a brook,
Not around a hook,
Not in a nook,
But in a book.
(Where else would you look?)
And it can’t be shook.
from Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein
I wanted to write the above poems to give back a fraction of the fun and enjoyment Silverstein gave me throughout my childhood. They may not be much but they’re my way of saying thank you.
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