I can remember walking in a straight line with my class in grade school. It was library day, and we were on our way. Everyone was focused. We all had in our minds what book we were going to get as soon as we walked through the door, and for most of us, we had the same book in mind. I had my plan ready. I could picture the right section of the library without even needing to use the Dewey Decimal system. I was going to enter the door and immediately after a short introduction from our librarian, I was going to race as fast as I could without running to the short stories area. Here I would grab the book before anyone else…Where the Sidewalk Ends. I had yet to have a turn with this masterpiece, and though I had read it time and time again with my friends who were so lucky to have it on loan on the bus, I didn’t ever have the chance to stay up all night reading every.single.word.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein was certainly the most popular book when I was in grade school back in the 80’s. I finally received a copy of my very own one year for my birthday, and I can remember reading it for years afterward. Story after story, it was filled with a kind of creativity that I had never read before. I laughed, I wondered, and I asked tons of questions about the imaginary and real characters in this book. It was my first exposure to creative poetry and my first introduction to the realization that writing was so much more than just a single story.
The illustrations in the book made it come to life in a way that I never knew black and white drawings could. And the stories changed for me over the years. Reading them as a small child they meant one thing, and as a grown adult, another. It is a book that I will share with my children, and one that I hope that they cherish as much as I did when I was a child. The only difference will be that when I mention good old Dewey, they will think it is their long lost grandfather, not the system that dominated library discussions for generations. J My husband has already started sharing these marvelous stories with the kids by singing Boa Constrictor in their preschool classrooms every year. “Oh fiddle, it’s up to my middle….”
I leave you with one of my favorite stories/poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends. It is an example of one that has changed in its meaning to me over the years.
Colors by Shel Silverstein
My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are grayish blueish green,
But I’m told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it’s silver when it’s wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.
Lauryn blogs at The Vintage Mom. She is the mom of three vivacious children and wife to one extremely vivacious husband! Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. She spends her days in awe of her family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter for more stories!
Thanks Lauryn, I’ve always loved Where The Sidewalk Ends too!