Reviews for Every Thing On It : Poems and Drawings

Booklist Reviews 2011 September #1
Members of Shel Silverstein's family have selected poems and drawings from his personal archive for a volume to follow Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), A Light in the Attic (1981), and Falling Up (1996). The result is unmistakably Silverstein, with insouciant rhymes, playful scansion, furious humor, and the odd scatological reference, packaged with a tight typeface and whimsical ink drawings set against ample white space. The poems, ranging from two-line zingers to three-page odes, cover a lot of emotional territory, examining the many difficulties and joys of being young and growing up. Moments of melancholy and nostalgia balance the otherwise sharp frivolity. Fans of Silverstein's oeuvre will find more to appreciate, while newcomers who have yet to discover his individual tone will be prompted to seek out the classics. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
This posthumously published volume of 140-plus poems is every bit as good as Silverstein's earlier collections. The book is not just laugh-out-loud funny but demands to be read aloud. Drawings add immeasurably to the entertainment, often providing the punch line. With its share of the slightly creepy, the slightly naughty, and the slightly gross--and also some poignant pieces--the volume has depth and humor. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #6
Posthumously published works are sometimes weak, but this collection of 140-plus poems is every bit as good as Silverstein's earlier poetry collections, beginning with the now-classic Where the Sidewalk Ends (rev. 4/75). From the poem whose illustration graces the cover -- in which a doleful-looking person holds a hotdog with everything on it, including "a parrot, / A bee in a bonnet," and other items piled high -- to a final poem that invites the reader to write his or her own, the book is not just laugh-out-loud funny but demands to be read aloud to any available parents, siblings, and friends. As always, the drawings add immeasurably to the entertainment and often provide the punch line, as in the poem about boots that are "a little too big," shown in the picture as a pair of giant boots with just a tiny bit of a person's head peeking out, capped by a very large cowboy hat. The poems' style varies -- the collection has its share of the slightly creepy, the slightly naughty, and the slightly gross (see "Mistake") and also includes some poignant or thoughtful poems, such as one about a witch who can no longer remember how to cast spells. Silverstein's most recent book was the amusing but fluffy Runny Babbit (rev. 5/05); this one, however, has depth, heart, and humor. susan dove lempke Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 August #1

A second posthumous collection from the archives of the multitalented Silverstein is definitely a cause for celebration.

"Although I cannot see your face / As you flip these poems awhile, / Somewhere from some far-off place / I hear you laughing—and I smile." This and 129 other poems chosen by Silverstein's family see light here for the first time. Those vexed by the relentless spoonerisms of 2005's Runny Babbit will delight that these buried gems are different each to each. There are tales of garlic breath and child-eating plants (and child-eating land sharks and a horse that's pretty hungry). There are admonitions never to eat a snake (whole) or look up the chimney for Santa. The poems vary in length as much as in subject matter, running from a line or two to several pages. Silverstein's inspired word play and impish sense of humor are in abundant evidence. His signature line drawings accompany many of the poems and complete the jokes of some. If there are one or two that feel a bit flat, the hijinks or silly grossness of the next poem more than make up for them. "When I am gone what will you do? / Who will write and draw for you? / Someone smarter—someone new? / Someone better—maybe YOU!"

Adults who grew up with Uncle Shelby will find themselves wiping their eyes by the time they get to the end of this collection; children new to the master will find themselves hooked. (Poetry. All ages)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #4

This posthumous collection of Silverstein's poems and illustrations is not only familiar in design, but chockfull of the whimsical humor, eccentric characters, childhood fantasies, and iconoclastic glee that his many fans adore. Like the boy who orders a hot dog "with everything on it" (" came with a parrot,/ A bee in a bonnet,/ A wristwatch, a wrench, and a rake"), there are plenty of surprises in store for readers. Although a few poems feel a tad fragmentary, overall the volume includes some of Silverstein's strongest work, brilliantly capturing his versatility and topsy-turvy viewpoint. The poems take expectedly unexpected twists (Walenda the witch rides a vacuum cleaner); a few are gross ("Let's just say/ I took a dare," reads "Mistake," as Silverstein shows a snake trailing out of a boy's pair of shorts, its tail still entering through his mouth), but many more display Silverstein's clever wordplay, appreciation of everyday events, and understated wisdom. "There are no happy endings./ Endings are the saddest part,/ So just give me a happy middle/ And a very happy start." The silly-for-the-sake-of-silly verses are nicely balanced with sweetly contemplative offerings, including a poignant final poem that offers an invitation to readers: "When I am gone what will you do?/ Who will write and draw for you?/ Someone smarter--someone new?/ Someone better--maybe YOU!" All ages. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 September

Gr 4 Up--Silverstein pushes playful poesy to its limits with drawings that are as strange and wonderful as the artist's earlier collections. The title selection, a list poem imagining a hot dog with literally "everything on it," is an apt metaphor for this posthumous collection of new work that includes poems, riddles, surprise endings, poems of creature foibles and fables, wry social commentary, and, of course, the idiosyncratic line drawings that spell Silverstein. In "Turning Into," a boy swings from a tree shouting "wow," and when he topples to the ground, he finds that his "wow" is now "MOM." In another illustration, a man is so in love with himself that he has twisted his neck to get a better look. Some poems are lyrical: a rainbow thrower "hurls his colors/Cross the sky" while a rainbow catcher waits at "Horizon's gate." Perhaps the most poignant is "The Clock Man," in which the question, "How much will you pay for an extra day?" is answered throughout life's stages. Like the boy holding the delightfully absurd hot dog with everything piled upon it, this collection offers a Silverstein smorgasbord that won't linger on the library shelves.--Tess Pfeifer, Springfield Renaissance School, MA

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