shel silverstein

Shel Silverstein Books and Poems

Beloved children's poet Shel Silverstein has penned some fantastically quirky books filled with funny illustrations. His poems, seemingly light and frivolous, are quite the opposite. In a seemingly effortless stream of silliness, incredibly important messages of resilience, imagination, love, acceptance, friendship and failure unfold in every single one of Shel Silverstein's poems.


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Shel Silverstein Quotes & Poems

"Tell me I'm clever,
Tell me I'm kind,
Tell me I'm talented,
Tell me I'm cute,
Tell me I'm sensitive,
Graceful and Wise,
Tell me I'm perfect -
But tell me the TRUTH."


Shel Silverstein is one of the most phenomenal poets whose work appeals to children and adults alike. Don't be fooled by his comical illustrations into thinking he writes silly little rhymes for little kids. Through humor and language that kids can understand, he conveys some pretty darn powerful messages and lessons on life. 


“Listen to the mustn'ts, child.
Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be."



where the sidewalk ends


“How many slams in an old screen door?
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live 'em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give 'em."


“Underneath my outside face
There's a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me."


“There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start."


“All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin' In The Sun,
Talkin' 'Bout The Things
They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done...
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All Ran Away And Hid
From One Little Did"


pancake shel silverstein


“I know a way to stay friends forever,
There's really nothing to it,
I tell you what to do,
And you do it."


“I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins."


“Never explain what you do.
It speaks for itself.
You only muddle it
by talking about it."


“If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in! 
Come in!"


“When the light turns green,
you go.
When the light turns red,
you stop.
But what do you do
when the light turns blue
with orange and lavender spots?"


“My skin is kind of sort of
brownish pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
but I'm told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
but its silver when its wet, and all colors I am inside
have not been invented yet."


“And he didn't really know where he was going,
but he did know he was going somewhere,
because you really have to go somewhere,
don't you?"


dream shel silverstein 

“She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And she grew so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothin' at all."


“There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to
The voice that speaks inside"


“If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
THINKING you can just ain't enough!"


“Do a loony-goony dance 
'Cross the kitchen floor, 
Put something silly in the world 
That ain't been there before."

“Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early early bird--
But if you're a worm, sleep late."


“We can't hold hands―
Someone might see.
Won't you please
Hold toes with me?"


“When I am gone, what will you do?
Who will write and draw for you?
Someone smarter--someone new?
Someone better--maybe YOU!"

“To me, freedom entitles you to do something,
not to not do something."


“Talked my head off
Worked my tail off
Cried my eyes out
Walked my feet off
Sang my heat out
So you see, 
There's really not much left of me."


Shel Silverstein poems have been cherished for generations. Books are forever relevant, full of laughs, and contain an abundance of wisdom that children can carry with them throughout their lives.

shel silverstein poem
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