Shel Silverstein

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“And now . . .a story about a very strange lion—in fact, the strangest lion I have ever met.” So begins Shel Silverstein’s very first children’s book, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back. It’s funny and sad and has made readers laugh and think ever since it was published in 1963. Shel Silverstein will perhaps always be best loved for his extraordinary books. Shel’s books are now published in more than 47 different languages. The last book that was published before his death in 1999 was Falling Up (1996). Like his other books, it is filled with unforgettable characters, such as Screamin’ Millie, who screamed “so loud it made her eyebrows steam.” Then there are DannyO’Dare the dancin’ bear, the Human Balloon, Headphone Harold, and a host of others. Shel was always a believer in letting his work do the talking for him. So come—wander through the nose garden, ride the little hoarse, and let the magic of Shel Silverstein open your eyes, tickle your mind, and show you a new world. Shel Silverstein’s incomparable legacy is apparent in each one of his books and continues with every reader he inspires. Source

Whatif

Last night, while I lay thinking here,

some Whatifs crawled inside my ear

and pranced and partied all night long

and sang their same old Whatif song:

Whatif I'm dumb in school?

Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?

Whatif I get beat up?

Whatif there's poison in my cup?

Whatif I start to cry?

Whatif I get sick and die?

Whatif I flunk that test?

Whatif green hair grows on my chest?

Whatif nobody likes me?

Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?

Whatif I don't grow taller?

Whatif my head starts getting smaller?

Whatif the fish won't bite?

Whatif the wind tears up my kite?

Whatif they start a war?

Whatif my parents get divorced?

Whatif the bus is late?

Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?

Whatif I tear my pants?

Whatif I never learn to dance?

Everything seems well, and then

the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Published:

1992

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Children's

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Doubt & Fear

Mental Health

Literary Devices:

Anaphora

a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same

Personification

the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Repetition

a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered