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Shelly Silverstein most commonly known as Shel Silverstein He is best known in childrens literature for his poetry however he was also a cartoonist composer lyricist and folk singer Silversteins work which he illustrated himself is characterized by a deft mixing of the sly and the serious the macabre and the just plain silly Silverstein was born on September 25 1930 in Chicago Illinois His wicked giddy humor is beloved by countless adults as well as by children Shel began writing as a young boy in Chicago Although he would rather have been playing baseball or chasing girls he could not catch or hit a ball and the girls were not interested in him He gave his energies to writing He developed his very own writing style at a young age and was unfamiliar with the poetry of the great poets of his time I was so lucky that I didnt have anyone to copy be impressed by I had developed my own style I was creating before I knew there was a Thurber a Benchley a Price and a Steinberg I never saw their work until I was around thirty By the time girls were interested in him he was involved in his work Silverstein never planned on writing and drawing for children His friend Tomi Ungerer brought him to Ursula Nordstoms office where she convinced him to do childrens books One of his earliest and most successful books The Giving Tree was rejected by editor William Cole Cole felt that the book fell between adults and childrens literature and would never sell In Silversteins eyes it was a story about two people one gives and the other takes Ultimately both adults and children embraced the book He hoped that people no matter what age could identify with his other books as well His works include Falling Up 1996 Where the Sidewalk Ends 1981 A Light in the Attic 1981 The Missing Piece
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