Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Adults Only

( 15 )

Overview


Shel Silverstein is best known as a children's-book author who wrote and illustrated a number of bestselling books that have charmed millions of readers of all ages. Crossing many artistic boundaries, he was also a noted songwriter and an accomplshed playwright. Silverstein first came to prominence in the 1950s as a cartoonist for Playboy, where he assumed the role of roving ambassador for the up-and-coming magazine. This esteemed assignment -- due in no small part to his friendship with Hugh M. Hefner -- was ...
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Overview


Shel Silverstein is best known as a children's-book author who wrote and illustrated a number of bestselling books that have charmed millions of readers of all ages. Crossing many artistic boundaries, he was also a noted songwriter and an accomplshed playwright. Silverstein first came to prominence in the 1950s as a cartoonist for Playboy, where he assumed the role of roving ambassador for the up-and-coming magazine. This esteemed assignment -- due in no small part to his friendship with Hugh M. Hefner -- was the auspicious beginning of a most amazing career. Shel Silverstein died in 1999.

Shel Silverstein's notorious cartoon classic--a book to give your children when they are 50 and for you to enjoy forever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671211486
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 9/9/1985
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 151,916
  • Product dimensions: 8.37 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is best known as a children’s book author who wrote and illustrated a number of bestselling books that have charmed millions of readers of all ages. Crossing many artistic boundaries, he was also a noted songwriter and an accomplished playwright. Silverstein first came to prominence in the 1950s as a cartoonist for Playboy, where he assumed the role of roving ambassador for the up-and-coming magazine. This esteemed assignment—due in no small part to his friendship with Hugh M. Hefner—was the auspicious beginning of a most amazing career. Shel Silverstein died in 1999.

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

Chapter 1

A is for apple

See the nice green apple.

M-M-M-M-Good.

How many nice green apples can you eat?

Make a circle around the number of nice green little apples you ate today.

1 2 3 4 7 12 26 38 57 83 91 116

B is for baby

See the baby

The baby is fat

The baby is pink

The baby can cry

The baby can laugh

See the baby play

Play, baby, play.

Pretty, pretty, baby.

Mommy loves the baby more than she loves you.

Z is for zoo

Let's go to the zoo

See all the animals!

The animals are locked inside the cages.

Poor animals!

Who will let them out???

See the elephant in the zoo. Give the nice elephant some peanut shells with pepper inside. That will be a good joke on him. Ha. Ha. Ha Ha. The elephant is mad but don't worry — By tomorrow the elephant will have forgotten all about it.

Poor hippopotomus. The hippopotumos has a bone stuck in his throat and can't get it out. Poor hipopothomus the hipopottomos has no fingers like you do. Poor hipotopomus. Say, maybe he is not a real hiptopomos after all. Maybe he is really a royal prince that has been turned into a hipopotomos by a wicked witch and when some person takes the bone out of his throat the spell will be broken and he will turn back into a prince again and give whoever did it a million dollars in gold and a horse and a castle.

See the hippopotimus in the zoo

Whew!

Copyright © 1961 by Shel Silverstein

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

A is for apple

See the nice green apple.
M-M-M-M-Good.
How many nice green apples can you eat?
Make a circle around the number of nice green little apples you ate today.
1 2 3 4 7 12 26 38 57 83 91 116

B is for baby

See the baby
The baby is fat
The baby is pink
The baby can cry
The baby can laugh
See the baby play
Play, baby, play.
Pretty, pretty, baby.
Mommy loves the baby more than she loves you.

Z is for zoo

Let's go to the zoo
See all the animals!
The animals are locked inside the cages.
Poor animals!
Who will let them out???

See the elephant in the zoo. Give the nice elephant some peanut shells with pepper inside. That will be a good joke on him. Ha. Ha. Ha Ha. The elephant is mad but don't worry -- By tomorrow the elephant will have forgotten all about it.

Poor hippopotomus. The hippopotumos has a bone stuck in his throat and can't get it out. Poor hipopothomus the hipopottomos has no fingers like you do. Poor hipotopomus. Say, maybe he is not a real hiptopomos after all. Maybe he is really a royal prince that has been turned into a hipopotomos by a wicked witch and when some person takes the bone out of his throat the spell will be broken and he will turn back into a prince again and give whoever did it a million dollars in gold and a horse and a castle.

See the hippopotimus in the zoo

Whew!

Copyright © 1961 by Shel Silverstein

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    Wow so funny!

    My camp counsler read this book to us and we cracked up all the way through... I mean, Hilarious!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 25, 2005

    Funny- but not dirty

    Hilarious mock of ABC books that makes adults smile. Don't be fooled by the 'primer for adults only' on the cover, it is not pornographic or anything- just keep in mind that small children don't yet understand sarcasam and could take this book to seriously, and they wouldn't apreciate it like you could anyway. I'm giving this as a christmas gift to my brother and his wife.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 30, 2005

    Hilarious!!

    This book is so stinkin' hilarious!! My English teacher read it to our class for something a little more fun to do, and I laughed the whole way through it!! This book is great to share with friends and (older) family!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 22, 2004

    VERY VERY GOOD!

    This book is hilarious. I love it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 9, 2002

    Really for adults who have read kid books

    Read this aloud to parents who have little kids. You would NOT want to read this to kids. EXAMPLE: "E" is for "egg." "E" is also for "Ernie." Ernie is a genie that lives in the ceiling. Take an egg and throw to Ernie." Lotsa laughs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2001

    Totally Awesome

    This book is wonderful, especially if you are a Shel Silverstein fan! I was laughing all the way though the book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 13, 2000

    Soooooooooooooo Coollllllll

    This is probably the funniest, coolest book That I have ever read.... You have to read it. It to cool not to read!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2000

    the kind of book that will make you laugh so hard you cry

    i love the book so much i found it in the book store one day and had to buy it me and my friends still talk about it BUY IT!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2000

    As sadistic as they come

    If you like Edward Gorey, you will Love Uncle Shelby's ABZ's.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2013

    I've been buying this book since it was published

    This Shel Silverstein book is totally irreverent, totally mad! A perfect accompaniment to the serious Silverstein you present to the child. A little something extra for Mom & Daddy. Check it out...

    Grammy Pammy

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    Posted December 16, 2008

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    Posted November 12, 2009

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    Posted December 19, 2008

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    Posted December 11, 2008

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