Shel Silverstein has a devilish wit. I think that’s why he is a children’s writer at the same time that he isn’t. He has a child’s sensibility with an adult’s knowledge and experiences. I believe I share this with him, without being on the same creative plane of existence. It is this kind of stuff that parents normally complain about regarding me. It is the parents’ job, after all, to socialize children. I see it as my job to remind them that they can be both good and devilish.
Where the Sidewalk Ends is filled with devilish stuff. There is also a version with a CD, which I used to have. There is something extra that we get when Silverstein reads his own poems. They always sound so much sharper than they do in my head. Poems like “For Sale” are horrible in their way, even as they are too extreme to be taken seriously. It’s the literary equivalent of Tom and Jerry. But I’m going to highlight another poem from that collection, “Crocodile’s Toothache,” even though I actually love dentists. As the animator, Aida Alemy, says, “No crocodile or dentist were harmed during the making of this animation.”