You probably know Shel Silverstein, but in case you haven’t read his classic, Where The Sidewalk Ends, let me give you a taste.

This book is one of my grandchildren’s favorites, and it’s easy to see why. It’s full of unique, whimsical, playful verse accompanied by the author’s own wacky and unique yet sophisticated illustrations which remind me of Jules Feiffer who illustrated The Phantom Tollbooth. The book opens with an invitation:

If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…

If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

One thing nice about this book is you can read a little or a lot. If it’s late and the kids really need to get to bed, you can just read one short rhyme, like this one.


I will not play at tug o’ war.

I’d rather play at hug o’ war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs,

Where everyone giggles

And roles on the rug,

Where everyone kisses

And everyone grins,

And everyone cuddles,

And everyone wins.

After I began reading it to our grandkids (ages 8, 7, 6 and 5) they started asking for it again and again. I even found the 7-year-old reading it on her own. Here’s one last example:


Since I brought my gorilla to school,

Everyone’s nicer to me.

The teacher’s more pleasant,

The kids bring me presents,

The principal serves me

Bran muffins and tea.

Mayhem ensues through several verses. Then we come to the last verse.

I’m welcome to much upon anyone’s lunch,

And I was just voted “Most clever and cool.”

Though I chew gum and play,

My report card’s all As

Since the day I first brought

My gorilla to school.

Where The Sidewalk Ends is a wonderful, fun, imaginative book to share with kids from kindergarten to middle school.