A Light in the Attic: 20th Anniversary Edition with CD

( 8 )

Overview

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 flunk that ...

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Overview

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 flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?...

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic is now available in a special edition containing the classic hardcover book and a CD of highlights from his Grammy Award-winning album.

Here in the attic of Shel Silverstein you will find Backward Bill, Sour Face Ann, the Meehoo with an Exactlywatt, and the Polar Bear in the Frigidaire. You will talk with Broiled Face, and find out what happens when Somebody steals your knees, you get caught by the Quick-Digesting Gink, a Mountain snores, and They Put a Brassiere on the Camel.

From the creator of the beloved poetry collections Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up, here is another wondrous book of poems and drawings.

A collection of humorous poems and drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It's hard to imagine a world without A Light in the Attic. This now-classic collection of poetry and drawings from Shel Silverstein celebrates its 20th anniversary with this special edition. With a CD of poems performed by the legendary poet, this is a true fan's delight. "A Light in the Attic," "Twistable, Turnable Man," and "Backward Bill" are among the songs featured. Silverstein's humorous and creative verse can amuse the dowdiest of readers. Lemon-faced adults and fidgety kids sit still and read these rhythmic words and laugh and smile and love that Silverstein. Need proof of his genius?
Rockabye

Rockabye baby, in the treetop
Don't you know a treetop
Is no safe place to rock?
And who put you up there,
And your cradle, too?
Baby, I think someone down here's
Got it in for you.

Shel, you never sounded so good.
Children's Literature
Most of us grew up listening to our teachers or our parents reading to us from Shel Silverstein's poetry collections A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends, or The Giving Tree and loved every humorous moment of them. The only thing better than listening was to hear them and look at the illustrations Silverstein provided for each poem. In this 20th anniversary edition of A Light in the Attic, a new generation of readers is provided the additional joy of listening to Silverstein read—with great enthusiasm—eleven of his personal favorites from the collection. From the woes of homework to the practicalities of the best way to get out of doing the dishes; from the joy of imagining oneself in a rock and roll band to the amazing abilities of the Twistable, Turnable Man; young and "young-at-heart" readers alike will find themselves laughing at or nodding with the charming characters found in Silverstein's poetry. This collection has been and continues to be a "must-use" book for teachers working with students of any age to encourage or reinforce a love of poetry. 2001 (orig. 1981), HarperCollins, $22.95 and $17.89. Ages All. Reviewer: Jean Boreen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780066236179
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition number: 20
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 93,699
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein 's incomparable career as a bestselling children's book author and illustrator began with Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back. He is also the creator of picture books including A Giraffe and a Half, Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?, The Missing Piece, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, and the perennial favorite The Giving Tree, as well as classic poetry collections such as Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Every Thing On It, Don't Bump the Glump!, and Runny Babbit.

Shel Silverstein 's incomparable career as a bestselling children's book author and illustrator began with Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back. He is also the creator of picture books including A Giraffe and a Half, Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?, The Missing Piece, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, and the perennial favorite The Giving Tree, as well as classic poetry collections such as Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Every Thing On It, Don't Bump the Glump!, and Runny Babbit.

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

Read an Excerpt

Prayer of the Selfish Child

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my toys to break.
So none of the other kids can use 'em. . . .
Amen.

From A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC by Shel Silverstein © 1981 by Shel Silverstein. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Customer Reviews

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( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2014

    Why can't we get this for the nook.  Where the sidwalk ends too.

    Why can't we get this for the nook.  Where the sidwalk ends too.  Books are too big for my hands to hold comfortably.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2013

    A must read!

    I bought this book for my first grandson. It was a favorite with my sons when they were children so it was a great tradition to carry on. Shel Silverstein is a great writer of children's books and poetry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    A Light in the attic is a book that seems like a children¿s book

    A Light in the attic is a book that seems like a children’s book but it was designed for all reading levels. Silverstein presents obvious lessons to small children through humor and the use of imagination, but he sneaks in life lessons for those who can make a connection from his poems to the real world. For example in the poem Ticklish Tom, Tom is so ticklish that whoever tickles him he rolls further and further away until he rolls onto train tracks and is hit by a train. To a child, one might think that the lesson is just not to be as ticklish. But to a person who can recognize metaphors one might think that when Silverstein refers to tickling he really means say bullying, or hazing, or something to that effect. And at the end he refers to Tom being hit by a train and I think that means that despite all the running Tom did from being tickled it eventually killed him, and I think that this means that you can’t keep running from your problems and that eventually you have to stand up to them or it will eventually kill you. This is just one of the many poems that have a deeper meaning behind them that Silverstein designed to force you to look deeper into the poem and left the poem open for interpretation. Another one of those poems is “The Nailbiter”. In “The Nailbiter” Silverstein describes one experience of a guy who bites his nails. The guy starts off by saying that other people trim their nails differently but he bites his off completely. And the ending line of the poem is “Remember, I have never ever scratched a single soul.” It is this line that gives this poem a deeper meaning to it. I think that the nailbiter is a person who is afraid to let anyone get too close to him and because of this he bites off his “nails” or anyone close to him before he can scratch them. The last poem that I’m going to talk about and the one that I find that has the biggest hidden meaning is “Captain Blackbeard Did What?” This poem depicts how the famous pirate Captain Blackbeard has shaved off his beard entirely, and how no one respects him anymore. I believe that this is Silverstein’s way of saying that society is afraid of change in their environment. Blackbeard’s crew was so used to his beard that they laughed at him when they saw that he shaved it. This poem also says that anything Blackbeard did wasn’t as scary or feared now as it was beard just because his beard was gone. These are only three poems out of the many, many poems in this book Silverstein may have hidden a deeper more sophisticated life lesson in, and I have enjoyed analyzing and laughing at all of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Must buy the book that includes the CD!

    I still remember hearing these poems read and sung on cassette 20 years ago in 3rd grade! The way they read and sing the poems is wonderful! Such fun poems; Shel Silverstein never disappoints!

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    you must check it out!!

    This is a great book to read. The poems are funny, silly, shorts and interesting. Perfect for all ages!
    I would recommend all kids to read this book with your families.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2003

    Very Good Book

    This was a very good book. Actually, I like the whole set. Once again, a VERY good book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2009

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