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Missing Piece Meets the Big O

( 13 )

Overview

The missing piece sat alone waiting for someone to come along and take it somewhere....

The different ones it encounters - and what it discovers in its helplessness - are portrayed with simplicity and compassion in the words and drawings of Shel Silverstein.

A missing piece, looking for someone to carry it along, finally develops its own momentum.

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Overview

The missing piece sat alone waiting for someone to come along and take it somewhere....

The different ones it encounters - and what it discovers in its helplessness - are portrayed with simplicity and compassion in the words and drawings of Shel Silverstein.

A missing piece, looking for someone to carry it along, finally develops its own momentum.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The 25th anniversary edition remains virtually unchanged form the 1981 original. The missing piece is searching for a circle to belong to, ("someone to take it somewhere") and tries to find the perfect fit. It searches in vain until it meets the Big O, which gives it the confidence it needs to "roll all by yourself." This touching and simple lesson in becoming independent is filled with hope. Each line drawing is imbued with life and personality. On their own, children may see this as an adventure story of the missing piece, but with adult help can appreciate it as a life lesson that teaches one to depend on oneself and how to successfully roll through life. 2006 (orig. 1981), HarperCollins, and Ages 6 to adult.
—Beverley Fahey
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060256579
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/1981
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 55,684
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 8.84 (h) x 0.61 (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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2001

    The Missing Piece in All of Us!

    Just discovered this book at age 47 and it is perfect for me...and my children ages 11, 15, and 19! It is truly what I am trying to teach each of us...to love one's self is the start to loving others! The acceptance of one's self...acceptance of others. To explore and live life is just the beginning of a wonderful future!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Positively amazing

    I gave this book to my 24 year old brother, my 3 year old nephew and my 9 month old niece for Christmas. I'm 20 and I also bought this for myself. Shel Silverstein is one of my personal favorite childrens book authors. I consider this book to be one that everyone should own, or at least every child, because of the valuable lesson it teaches.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Perfect Gift

    This...THIS...will be the gift I give to everyone in my life - children and graduates alike!

    Wonderful story.

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

    Posted February 17, 2009

    good

    simple book for my little nieces..

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    a fun book

    this was the follow up book for the big O my grandson had a wonderful time reading it he is 7 very easy to understand and read

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  • Posted December 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this

    This is one of the best books ever. Great for people of all ages, young and old. Shel Silverstein is a great writer and this is one of his best books. Makes a wonderful gift for a loved one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    A story for everyone

    I received this book as a gift and now I give it as a gift.... The truth about relationships for all ages: depending on your age you'll see a different message about internal growth. Very inspiring book! A must-have.

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

    Posted February 14, 2001

    Just Perfect

    A friend of mine read this to me at a party, not a perfect atmosphere, but was a great story. I sent this to a very good friend of mine in college and she said that is was perfect for her. I might get one for myslef.

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

    Posted March 6, 2001

    Timeless and Ageless

    The story of the Missing Piece is both timeless and ageless. All readers quickly identify with truisms reflected in all possible categories of relationships. Just as many readers take away the timeless message of courage, self-development, and preparation for the Big O

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2000

    The missing piece meets ME!

    A MUST BUY! I only recently read this for the first time, and am so impressed with it's style, art and beautifully simple story that I am compelled to tell everyone about it.

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

    Posted April 13, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2009

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