BOOK REVIEWS

A Light in the Attic Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-07-17 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 495 user ratings
ISBN:0060256737
LANGUAGE:English

"Shel Silverstein has long been one of my favorite authors. His stories and poetry are written with the craft of wit and humor. In some poems he uses the craft of repetition and in others he just writes creatively. A Light in the Attic is just one of his many amazing books of compiled poems.

"If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful, boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
('Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor -
Maybe they won't let you
Dry the dishes anymore."

I chose this book as my poetry book for my reading and writing odyssey. I can think of so many mini lessons that I could use this book for. I could use this book during a poetry lesson to show students examples of different kinds of poems. I could also use it to show students how authors can use wit and humor in their writing to entertain and relate to their readers.
" said.

" Shel Silverstein is so wonderfully bizarre, and a few of these poems are fantastic (i.e., "The Twistable Turnable Man"). Of course, there are a few more of this grotesque and a couple with clunky rhythm that I couldn't figure out. Overall one of his better collections. " said.

"Read this one aloud with the kids. We've read three (or is it four?) of his books in he past couple of months and none of his books have a bio or "about the author" section. I like when that happens, but I wanted to know more about him so I Googled. Firstly, he looked different than I expected. Secondly, it made me happy to learn he was born in Chicago and that he is buried there, too. Lastly, the tragedies of his life (dead wife and daughter, both at young ages) are two of the saddest losses I have read about in a long time. And he still kept writing, drawing, and sharing. Ugh. Guilt. I routinely say this and routinely never mean it: I shall never complain again. Moving on, tomorrow I take the kids to visit his grave in Chicago. Graveschooling has become a major component of our homeschooling. Visiting graves really helps cement (hahahahaha,whewthatwasagoodone) the lessons for us and knowing how different they can be has definitely piqued a new curiosity in me.

Signed,
Still Not Emotionally Ready to Re-Read The Giving Tree
" said.

" 5 amazing stars! These poems are really good. I loved everyone of them. I like how every poem had a its own story it and some poems rhyme and has a twist to it. " said.

" This is one of my childhood favorites. I've had it for years and it's all battered because I've read the poems so often. Oddly enough, it's the only book of Silverstein's poems that I own, though I'm familiar with many more of his poems. This one will always be my favorite, though. I can recite so many of the poems from memory. If you ever need to be cheered up, I'd recommend this book! " said.

" I used this book for a talent show in Jr High. I don't remember what poem I did, but one that I incidentally memorized along the way is still really funny to me. Crowded TubThere s too many kids in this tub.There s too many elbows to scrub.I just washed a behindThat I m sure wasn t mineThere s too many kids in this tub.I quote it for my kids and they look at me in shock and then start giggling. The imagery is just too good. :) " said.

"One picture puzzle piece

Lyin’ on the sidewalk,

One picture puzzle piece

Soakin’ in the rain.

It might be a button of blue

On the coat of the woman

Who lived in a shoe.

It might be a magical bean,

Or a fold in the red

Velvet robe of a queen.

It might be the one little bite

Of the apple her stepmother

Gave to Snow White.

It might be the veil of a bride

Or a bottle with some evil genie inside.

It might be a small tuft of hair

On the big bouncy belly

Of Bobo the Bear.

It might be a bit of the cloak

Of the Witch of the West

As she melted to smoke.

It might be a shadowy trace

Of a tear that runs down an angel’s face.

Nothing has more possibilities

Than one old wet picture puzzle piece.

~Shel Silverstein

In this poem, Shel Silverstein used very descriptive language when describing the puzzle piece. He extends his sentences to give the story more details. He begins to make the story person when he mentioned specific names that are familiar to his readers. (Snow White, witch of the west and Bobo Bear) He uses allusions to draw the readers in and allows them to form a personal connection with the poem.

I believe the author did a great job using the elements of writers craft. His words paint detailed pictures in the readers'. When he described the possibilities of the puzzle piece, he describes each detail of the puzzle in that stage. While reading I noticed that Silverstein is using a specific "country" dialect to tell the poem. I love how Silverstein uses the country tone to tell the poem. He also incorporates the popular characters to pull the readers in. Silverstein must “study through research” (pg. 109, Ray) to draw readers into the poem. It seems like Silverstein had to do some research in order to create an authentic poem.

I would use this book in my classroom to teach students how to write descriptive poems or stories. the author uses so much needed details in this poem. I would introduce the poem with the descriptive words and later with out the descriptive words to show the students how important the descriptive words are. I will also teach my student show to include allusions in their writing.
" said.

"In the pantheon of literature shaping my nascent creative flicker, Shel Silverstein remains a master of lunacy and language. Long after losing my appetite for R.L. Stine's "Fear Street" or the frightful suspense of Alvin Schwartz' "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark", Silverstein's whimsical passages continue to invoke nostalgic and thoughtful reflection. Of "The Giving Tree", my mother echoes the undeviating refrain that it is a woeful fable of an ungrateful child and a loving, long suffering parent. I respond with a nod of agreement and apology having learned better than to quarrel with her interpretation of that particular work.

"I've discovered a way to stay friends forever--
There's really nothing to it.
I simply tell you what to do
And you do it!" ~ Friendship

His deeply imaginative ideas combined with a rich awareness of words to craft a collection of clever cerebral exchanges. Silverstein chose not to endeavour making sense of the utter nonsense which exists in the dreams of children. In his poems and illustrations, there resides an inquisitive surreality of characters and circumstances which are at times morbid, silly, unusual, somber, capricious, self indulgent or inappropriate. That array of attributes represented a wider spectrum than most children's literature of his era had considered yet all were qualities of which any child might be possessed.

"I shot an arrow toward the sky,
It hit a white cloud floating by.
The cloud fell dying to the shore,
I don't shoot arrows anymore." ~ Arrows

In spite of resolute parental naivete on our part, children are not yet whole beings. They are evolving and developing with each new insight which should arise. Why should they not be given the full palette of human emotion in which to dabble their paintbrush while there remains a steady hand to guide their intentions? Silverstein recognized children were smarter than adults acknowledged and wrote images filled with riddles, trap doors and passageways into the unknown.

If confusion arose as to the meaning of any given story, there was no discernible moral interpretation at the end. He trusted that children could ask questions and sort out those quandaries on their own. What if they could send away in the mail for a new set of parents as does the young man in "Clarence"? Is it such a terrifying thought that every child might at some moment dislike their parents? Or desire to join the UCR (Union for Children's Rights) and dispense with performing chores until their demands are met?

"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 them...
Amen." ~ Prayer of the Selfish Child

Silverstein wrote in the tradition of the grand triumvirate alongside Seuss and Sendak. Authors of juvenile literature who were unafraid to stretch and layer their passages into the space of fascination and fantasy. Could those arcane worlds engaged in Harry Potter or "The Hunger Games" exist without the precedent laid by the dragon of Grindly Grun, the Gooloo bird or the quick digesting Gink?

Silverstein can be an especially difficult read when one has spent a lifetime having their language skills battered into shape by each gruesome guardian of the English oral tradition. His random meter and loose leaning prose lead one to imagine they are reading another language entirely. I surely realize now that he inspires the same wonder and bewilderment as deciphering Pablo Neruda in Spanish. Perhaps this is the greatest gift Silverstein leaves behind in these writings. A self contained language filled with a meaning and clarity all its own which will be accessed only when you rediscover the precocious, curiosity you brought to the book as a child exploring literature for the first time.
" said.

July 2017 New Book:

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