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Falling Up

Falling Up

4.6 87
by Shel Silverstein

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Millie McDeevit screamed a scream
So loud it made her eyebrows steam.
She screamed so loud
Her jawbone broke,
Her tongue caught fire,
Her nostrils smoked...

Poor Screamin' Millie is just one of the unforgettable characters in this wondrous new book of poems and drawings by the creator of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the


Millie McDeevit screamed a scream
So loud it made her eyebrows steam.
She screamed so loud
Her jawbone broke,
Her tongue caught fire,
Her nostrils smoked...

Poor Screamin' Millie is just one of the unforgettable characters in this wondrous new book of poems and drawings by the creator of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. Here you will also meet Allison Beals and her twenty-five eels; Danny O'Dare, the dancin' bear; the Human Balloon; and Headphone Harold.

So come, wander through the Nose Garden, ride the Little Hoarse, eat in the Strange Restaurant, and let the magic of Shel Silverstein open your eyes and tickle your mind.With over one hundred new poems and drawings by the master of wit and wisdom, Shel Silverstein's magical tradition continues. Meet Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels, Reachin' Richard, the clothes dryin' Moose, the thieving Nap Taker, Danny O'Dare, the Dancin' Bear, the ill-fated Headphone Harry and many more unforgettable characters as Shel Silverstein draws you into his world with this wondrous new collection.

1996 Children's Books (NY Public Library)
Editor's Chice 1996 (Booklist)
1997 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (ALA)
1997 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
Children's Choices for 1997 (IRA/CBC)

Author Biography: Shel Silverstein, renowned creator of songs, cartoons, plays and author was best known for his children's books, which have sold over 18 million copies in hardcover and have been translated into 20 languages.

Silverstein's friend, Tomi Ungerer, suggested he write for children and introduced him to the editor,Ursula Nordstrom, who published his first book for children, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back. But it was his second book that catapulted him into the spotlight as a bestselling author/illustrator. Published in 1964, The Giving Tree, was hailed all over the country as an inspirational parable. With over five million books sold, The Giving Tree is a childhood classic, which celebrates it's 35th anniversary this fall.

Shel Silverstein wrote nine books for children including Falling Up; A Light in the Attic; Where the Sidewalk Ends; The Missing Piece; The Missing Piece Meets the Big O; and A Giraffe and a Half.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
All the things that children loved about A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends can be found in abundance in this eclectic volume, Silverstein's first book of poetry in 20 years. By turns cheeky and clever and often darkly subversive, the poems are vintage Silverstein, presented in a black-and-white format that duplicates his earlier books. Like Roald Dahl, Silverstein's cartoons and poems are humorously seditious, often giving voice to a child's desire to be empowered or to retaliate for perceived injustice: one child character wields a "Remote-a-Dad" that will instantly control his father, and another dreams of his teachers becoming his students so that when they talk or laugh in class, he can "pinch 'em 'til they [cry]." The poems focus on the unexpected-a piglet receives a "people-back ride" and Medusa's snake-hair argues about whether to be coifed in cornrows or bangs. Sometimes the art traffics in gross-out, as when William Tell gets an arrow through his forehead or a cartoon character sticks carrots in his sockets because he's heard that carrots are good for his eyes. Although some parents and teachers may cringe at such touches, Silverstein's anti-establishment humor percolates as he lampoons conventions (the stork not only brings babies but "comes and gets the older folks/ When it's their time to go"), or discards decorum (a small gardener zips up his pants after watering the plants "that way"). No matter that the author's rhythms and rhymes can be sloppy, or that his annoying insistence on leavin' off the endin' to his ING's seems artificially folksy, Silverstein's ability to see the world from, as he says, "a different angle" will undoubtedly earn this book a wide audience. All ages. (May)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Children's favorite poet, Shel Silverstein publishes a new poetry collection, Falling Up. Silverstein combines word play, his uncanny sense of what pleases children, with startling last lines, irreverent humor; and sounds that beg to read aloud. Our book now opens automatically to our favorite because it's been read so many times. "Hard to Please (To be said in one breath)" is a long list of common complaints about friends. There's challenge in the reading, fun in discussing all those annoying types ("Tiny is whiney, /Missy is prissy, /Nicky is picky") admiration for interior rhyme and the laughter it brings whether one runs out of breath or not. This book is guaranteed to please every child reader and most adults too!
Children's Literature - Armin Brott
It's been my experience that, Mother Goose aside, most kids don't like poetry. But if you're looking for something that will bring out the poetry lover in your child, this is it. These poems-delightfully accompanied by whimsical illustrations-expose children's inner world in the same penetratingly precise way as Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. Plus, there's humor: a (former) destruction foreman who loses his job because he destroys the wrong house. Then there are the puns: a gardener whose garden is filled with rows of noses instead of rows of roses. And finally there is confusion: a short child who was told he'd grow a foot imagines himself with an extra foot protruding from the top of his head.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 UpFifteen years after A Light in the Attic (1981) and 22 years after Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974, both HarperCollins), Silverstein, whose poetry has achieved cultlike popularity, offers readers another collection. While bodily functions seem to be the source of humor in more poems than in the earlier titles, and while there are fewer wonderful images here, the child appeal is as strong as ever. Once again, Silverstein's pen-and-ink drawings are the perfect accompaniment to the poems, always extending and often explaining the words. The book abounds in energetic wordplay ("I saw an ol' gnome/Take a gknock at a gnat/Who was gnibbling the gnose of his gnu") and childlike silliness ("I only ate one drumstick/At the picnic dance this summer...But everybody's mad at me,/Especially the drummer"). Silverstein writes wonderful nonsense verse, but he has used rhyme and rhythm to greater effect in the past. There is much to love in Falling Up, but it has its ups and downs.Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Well, finally. In this long-overdue follow-up to A Light In The Attic (1981), Silverstein once again displays the talent for wordplay and idea-play that keeps his poetry evergreen. In bumptious verse that seldom runs more than three or four stanzas, he introduces a gallery of daffy characters, including the Terrible Toy-Eating Tookle, a hamburger named James, blissfully oblivious Headphone Harold, and the so-attractive folk attending the "Rotten Convention"—"Mr. Mud and the Creepin' Crud/And the Drooler and Belchin' Bob," to name but a few. The humor has become more alimentary with the years, but the lively, deceptively simple art hasn't changed a bit. Its puzzled-looking young people (with an occasional monster or grimacing grown-up thrown in) provide visual punchlines and make silly situations explicit; a short ten-year-old "grows another foot"—from the top of his head—and a worried child is assured that there's no mouse in her hair (it's an elephant). Readers chortling their way through this inspired assemblage of cautionary tales, verbal hijinks, and thoughtful observations, deftly inserted, will find the temptation to read parts of it aloud irresistible.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Toy Eater
You don't have to pick up your toys, okay?
You can leave 'em right there on the floor,
So tonight when the Terrible Toy-Eatin' Tookly
Comes tiptoein' in through the crack in the door,
He'll crunch all your soldiers, he'll munch on your trucks,
He'll chew your poor puppets to shreds,
He'll swallow your Big Wheel and slurp up your paints
And bite off your dear dollies' heads.
Then he'll wipe off his lips with the sails of your ship,
And making a burpity noise,
He'll slither away -- but hey, that's okay,
You don't have to pick up your toys.
From FALLING UP by Shel Silverstein c 1996 by Shel Silverstein. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 25, 1930
Date of Death:
May 10, 1999
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Place of Death:
Key West, Florida
Chicago School of Fine Arts; University of Illinois (no degree)

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Falling Up: Poems and Drawings 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Twins13 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading Falling Up by Shel Silverstein. My favorite poem was Snow Ball (pg. 11) which is about a child that makes a snowball and puts it to sleep with him. The next day he's all upset thinking the snowball went away and wet his bed. The book has funny poems just like this one. - Javier, 9
ItsTheBookworm More than 1 year ago
Shel Silverstein never disapoints me. He is my favorite poet. I love it because all of the poems are dorky and don't have to be for kids. Must read his poems.(:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Falling up is a terrific book by Shel Silverstein. I liked falling up because of the pictures. Shel does not put a lot of work into his pictures. I like the pictures because they go along with the poems and the pictures are funny. Shel makes up a lot of cool characters and words. Some times his poems are hard to under stand. But they are still funny. I can connect to the poem "The Runners" because my parents coach track so I like every thing about track. The poem "The Runners" is a funny poem because the coach is a lion. The players say they have a great practice field but they don't because they run on dirt, jump over ditches with spears popping out and have a lion coming behind them. I do not like the poem "Long Scarf" because the boy slipped and tripped and his head got cut off. That just grosses me out. Then he put it back on. To keep his head on he wrapped the scarf around his neck. Then he took it off and his head came off with the scarf. EWWWW. I like the poem "Yuck". I liked this poem because the yuck is like tar. Ont time I got tar on the bottom of my shoe it took FOREVER to get off. I tried to get it off with a stick but the stick got stuck on the bottom of my shoe.so I had to throw them away. This poem is so funny.
Holly-from-Nebraska More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my 10 year old daughter who is a poetry lover! She loves to read this book alone or out loud to her siblings. The poems are lightheard and silly...perfect for children and adults! This is a book that can be read over and over again and you will love it just the same :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Review Falling Up by Shel Silverstein Falling Up is a great poetry book by Shel Silverstein that has great poems in it. Shel's gifted way of writing and drawing is amazing. Some of Shel's poems are stories and some are about life lessons. Some are hidden cleverly and some pop out at you. In the poem, "Stone Airplane," he makes a airplane out of stone and he says, "I always did like staying home." That is ironic because if you make a plane out of stone you can't go anywhere. The one poem is, "They Say I Have .." "It says they say I have my mom's hair, my father's nose, and my grandpa's eyes. Could my behind be the only things that mine?" And in the picture they are sitting down. It made me think, do they all have butts?! Another poem is, "Long-Leg Lou And Short-Leg Sue." Long-Leg Lou asks Short-Leg Sue to walk faster. She can't so she leaves. Their is a story in that poem. Opposites don't attract. My favorite poem is "Snowball." It is a funny poem. A kid brings a snowball home as a pet. He lets it sleep with him and he says, "It ran away but first I wet the bed." The snowball melted but he thinks it ran away and he wet the bed. In the poem "Nope" he looks at a cantaloupe through a telescope and sees stuff that's gross and never eats cantaloupe again. At my dad's house I saw a bunch of ants on a tomato so I don't eat tomatoes ever.
Penn-State More than 1 year ago
When I read the book Falling Up by Shel Silverstein I thought that it was a humorous book especially for children. Shel uses his creative imagination to express fiction and fantasy-like poems that kids enjoy. Even though I am not a big fan of poetry I treasured this book and want to eventually go to the book store and buy a couple more of his books. Now I am on the lookout for his books in the book orders, at the library, and at book fairs. I like how Shel wrote poems about his children but didn't directly state their names. Sheldon used his children as fictional characters as if you don't even know he's talking about them. The other thing I like is that Sheldon doesn't tell about his kid's life in the poems like most authors do. My favorite poem that Shel Silverstein wrote in Falling Up is "In the Land of.." I like this poem because I think that it is humorous. The poem states all different kinds of lands that you could live in like Listentoemholler, Wailinanweepin', Ragsanpatches, or Muglywugly. I would like to live in Wailinanweepin' because you work for free and get paid for sleeping. I love to sleep so that's why I would want to live in Wailinanweepin'. When I read this poem to my friends they all said that they would like to live in the same place that I would. One reason is because they all like to sleep like me and another reason is because they wanted to still be able to hang out with me. Another poem that I thought was a well written poem by Shel Silverstein is Tell Me. I like this poem because when you read it to your friends it says for them to tell you that your clever, kind, talented, cute, sensitive, and wise but when you get down to the bottom I says tell me I'm perfect- but tell me the truth. So your friends are forced to say all these things about you and then at the end they get to say the truth. I've done it to all of my friends and now it's a big joke when we see each other either inside or outside of school. A poem I can make a connection to the poem "My Sneaky Cousin" because in the poem it says that their cousin climbed in the washer and went for a spin and nobody could find him. I can make a connection to that because one time when we were playing hide-and-go-seek on vacation my cousin, Kyle, hid in the washer machine. Both my cousin, Allison, and I were rummaging all over the house looking for him. We couldn't find him until my little brother decided to let loose and tell us that he was in the washer. Then that was the end of our hide-and-seek game because there were no more spots to hide without my little brother ratting us out. I have to say that when I read Falling Up by Shel Silverstein I was very thrilled by all the talent that Shel had when it came to writing poems. I did not know that before I read the book. I was very impresssed with the book overall.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Falling Up is a great book that will be loved forever and never forgotten. It was written by Shel Silverstein, an author that is known all around the world. Reading this book is a great way to help you start to write poems because Shel Silverstein has such a great way of using words that rhyme. Most of Shel¿s poems have life lessons in them that you need to look for to know what he is saying. While reading this book I could connect to the poem called ¿Advice¿. In this poem he used the name William and he talked about arrows. I can connect to this poem because during some scout trips we are able to shoot bow and arrows. Also, the name of the main character in the book is the same as mine. If Shel was still alive I would ask him some questions. One question is about his poems. Did he write them for humor or for life lessons? How did you come up with the poem ¿Snowball¿? The character thinks a snowball wets the bed. It is so funny. Did you write all your poems at once or did you create them throughout your whole life? In the book there were three really good poems called, ¿Plugging In¿, ¿Scale¿, and ¿Falling Up¿. These poems were good because they were funny and one had a lesson in it. The lesson in ¿Plugging In¿ is that if you have too many electrical toys and appliances your electric could go off and you would not have it for your needs like heat and hot water. The book had other poems that were good but I thought those were some of the best. There was one poem that was out of this world. It was called ¿Snowball¿. This was my favorite poem because it was the funniest in the whole book. It is funny because the character thinks that a snowball wets her bed then runs away. Snowballs don¿t run away or wet beds. They melt so it is not there and there is a wet spot. Falling Up is a book that is good for everyone. If you like funny poems this book is for you. If you like poems with life lessons this book is for you. If you like books with different kinds of poems in it this book is for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think a few of the best poems are: Warm Hearted, Bad Cold, Danny O'dare, and Gardener. I chose these poems because they were very funny. I think all of the poems are funny but those were the best. I would recommend the book to all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is very funny. I also like the illustrations. Some words were difficult to understand but I really enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It is almost the best book I ever read. All of the poems were really amazing! You should read this book. My favorite poem is Falling Up. It is a really good poem. The poem is about a person who trips on his or her own shoelace. I would rate this book with 5 stars.
Pugmom2 More than 1 year ago
My kids loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Falling Up is a poetry book by Shel Silverstein. Shel Silverstein is the author and illustrator of this book. The book is very interesting to me because on each page there are cute little drawings that relate to the poem. The pictures on each page are very interesting and show Shel’s creativity. The poems may not have that much rhythm but the pictures really grab your attention and make the book fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shel Silverstein is an amazing poet. I think his book, Falling Up, is really fun and not too serious. I think this because all the poems have funny pictures that are easy for kids to understand. Most of the pictures are simple and I love that they are on every page because when you turn the page it is a new surprise every time! Everything about his poems makes you want to read more! Another poem in the book is called “ We’re out of paint so...” This poem is about someone running out of paint and using food instead. The food they use are red cherries, purple grapes, blue blueberries, black licorice, brown gravy, and yellow egg yolk. They also say they will sign their names in applesauce. Also near the end of the book they say they will call it the luncheon and hang it up for people “To stop ... and see ... and munch on.” A third poem is “Music Lesson.” This poem is about someone that wanted to take music lessons and decided to play the piano. When he is going to his music teacher he regrets picking piano. He wishes he would have picked flute because he brings his own piano up seven flights of stairs. The music teacher probably has a piano. My favorite poem in the book is “Allison Beals and her 25 Eels.” In this poem Allison Beals has 25 eels that are all used for different things. For example one eel is used for a hula hoop and two are used for hoop earrings. This poem is my favorite because it is really silly and fun and the picture to go with it is perfect for the poem. The picture shows all the eels doing what Allison Beals have them do. Shel Silverstein did an amazing job with this book. The pictures went perfectly with the poems and it really helped me understand the book. For as simple as some of the drawings are they explain a lot. I would definitely read more of his book and it made me more into poetry. Falling Up is a well written and illustrated poem book that is perfect for kids, teens, and adults!
00moe More than 1 year ago
Falling Up is a funny book. It has poems and drawings in it. Falling Up was a fun, easy, and interesting book. I would highly recommend this book for any age, it is a really good book. I honestly don't enjoy reading that much, but I thought that this was a fun book to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thorne2112 More than 1 year ago
A book of short poems by Shel Silverstein. A classic for any child (or adult).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the book because it is funny, weird, and scary. I will grade it with 4 stars out of 5 becuase some poems start good but they get very boring, they don't get you anywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Falling Up is the best poetry book ever! I think the best poem to me is OBEDIENT.It is my favorite poem, because it teaches you to obey the rules,and behave in class.I like this poetry book, because the drawings,and the titles are funny.Shel uses a bunch of mistakes in his poems,and that makes it weird.I hope you enjoy the book if you want to read it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great to read. It had a lot of poems which made me laugh! The poems would keep you hooked on the book. The pictures were a great laugh as well. You've got to read this book!
Saleen More than 1 year ago
I loved reading Falling up. The poems are funny and a little weird. My favorite was Show Fish a poem about a boy who wanted to take a flounder to school for show and tell, but forgot and took it two weeks late for show and smell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would suggest to read this book because it's filled with clever and unique poems, it's great for sense of humor, and it includes lots of creativity and imagination. My favorite poem was "In The Land Of...". Shel Silverstein is a fantastic poem writer. I'd like to read this book again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago