A Giraffe and a Half

( 9 )

Overview

If you had a giraffe and he stretched another half . . . you would have a giraffe and a half.

And if you glued a rose to the tip of his nose . . .

And . . . if he put on a shoe and then stepped in some glue . . .

And if he used a chair to comb his hair . . .

And so it goes until . . . but that would be telling. Children will be kept in ...

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Hardcover (40th Anniversary Edition)
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Overview

If you had a giraffe and he stretched another half . . . you would have a giraffe and a half.

And if you glued a rose to the tip of his nose . . .

And . . . if he put on a shoe and then stepped in some glue . . .

And if he used a chair to comb his hair . . .

And so it goes until . . . but that would be telling. Children will be kept in stitches until the very end, when the situation is resolved in the most riotous way possible.

Shel Silverstein's incomparable line drawings add to the hilarity of his wildly funny rhymes. Originally published in 1964, this tale is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary by bringing back its original cover art!

Delightfully zany rhymes about a giraffe who accumulates some ridiculous things--like glue on his shoe and a bee on his knee--only to lose them again, one by one. "Infectiously funny . . . a good nonsensical text and illustrations."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In time for its 40th anniversary, Shel Silverstein's A Giraffe and a Half now appears with a five-foot, unfolding cardboard giraffe tape measure affixed to the inside back cover. Beginning simply with a giraffe who "stretched another half," the poem snowballs into tumultuous disarray as the creature ends up "with a chair in his hair/ and a snake eating cake" and more. The pages quickly crowd with Silverstein's uproarious ink renderings of the bedlam. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060256555
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/4/1964
  • Edition description: 40th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 40
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 36,275
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.

Shel Silverstein is the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.

Biography

If there is such a thing as a "bad boy of children's literature," it would have to be Shel Silverstein. Though often compared to Dr. Seuss for his ability to blend humor and nonsense into irresistible rhymes, Silverstein also ventured into macabre territory that the good Doctor wouldn't have touched with a ten-foot Sneetch. Silverstein broached such unsavory topics as nose-picking, the consumption of children, and winds so strong they could decapitate a man right out from under his hat.

It's a testament to Silverstein's abilities as a cartoonist and storyteller that he was able to endow such subjects with just the right silliness and humor, endearing him to both children and adults. In collections such as the classic Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up, Silverstein makes poems into page-turners -- aided in no small part by his grungy, whimsical black-and-white drawings. He also displays a tenderhearted understanding for kids' fears and peccadilloes; one poem in A Light in the Attic, for example, all but endorses nailbiting: "It's a nasty habit, but ... I have never ever scratched a single soul."

A lifelong writer and illustrator, Silverstein had been a cartoonist for an army newspaper in Korea in the 1950s, and then a contributor to magazines. Like many succesful writers for children, Silverstein never planned to author children's books. Ironically, his first attempt at the genre -- the book that established the one-time Playboy cartoonist as a school library fixture -- is something of an anomaly in his ouevre: The Giving Tree. This bittersweet story of a tree that ultimately sacrifices itself -- down to the stump -- to the boy she loves over the course of his life was initially rejected by Silverstein's editor. Of course, it has gone on to be a great, if sentimental, success. But it was Where the Sidewalk Ends, Silverstein's straightforward collection of crooked poems, that cemented his place as a must-read for the young and young at heart. Silverstein bristled at comparisons to fellow "nonsense poet" Edward Lear, preferring instead to cite his former teacher, Robert Cosbey, as an influence.

It's worth looking at some of Silverstein's less well-known picture books, such as Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? and Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, as examples of how funny (and how subversive) Silverstein could be. In Lafcadio, the ultimate anti-hunting story, a lion learns to become such a good marksman that he provides "hunter rugs" for his fellow lions and ends up touring as a celebrity. Lafcadio soon gets bored with his opulent life, and what used to be thrilling no longer is: "This morning I went up and down in the elevator 1,423 times," he cries at one point. "IT'S OLD STUFF!"

In later years, Silverstein turned more attention to dramatic writing. Titles such as The Lady and the Tiger, Wild Life and The Devil and Billy Markham were produced with varying degrees of success, and some are still being staged by small theater groups. Silverstein also wrote a well-received screenplay, Things Change, with pal David Mamet in 1988.

Still, Silverstein's poetry is what remains his most popular contribution. His verse gave kids permission to be a little grown-up for a while, and (just as importantly) let adults experience the not-always-simple perspective of children.

Good To Know

Silverstein was a soldier in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea in the '50s and drew cartoons for Stars and Stripes, the American military publication. His next cartooning gig was for Playboy.

Silverstein wrote several songs. His country-western song "A Boy Named Sue" was a hit for Johnny Cash in 1969. His song for Postcards From the Edge, "I'm Checkin' Out," was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Sheldon Allan Silverstein (full name)
      Shel Silverstein
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 25, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      May 10, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      Key West, Florida

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2000

    DO YOU WANT A GIRAFFE AND A HALF???

    MY SON LOVED THIS BOOK. WE WOULD READ IT OVER AND OVER AT BEDTIME. HE WOULD GIGGLE AND I LOVED HEARING HIM. SHEL SILVERSTEIN PROVIDED US BOTH WITH QUALITY READING.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Great children's book

    A Giraffe and a Half is a book I bought over 20 years ago for a friend's daughter. That daughter still remembers that book and the fun we had reading it together.
    Now my great nephew was turning one and I felt he had to have it. It has great rhyming and uses repetition so that children can 'read along".

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    Love this book - can't wait for Christmas!

    I can't wait to give this to my 7 year old granddaughter for Christmas. She will love the clever rhymes and fantastic pictures and she should be able to read it by herself.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    Very Cute!

    This is an adorable book. Children love it because of the rhyming and because of the outragous things the giraffe comes across! Just what we would have expected from Shel Silverstein!

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun to read over and over

    This is one of my son's favorite books. It is that book that we read when we are feeling happy or the book he chooses when he needs a little pick me up. He has it completely memorized but still loves hearing it over and over again. This book is #1 on my list for making reading fun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

    Very engaging...

    We have several Shel Silverstein books and love them all. My children love the pictures and the wonderful stories. This particular book is silly, fun and makes you laugh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    blah

    this is an interesting book and many children should read it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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