I haven’t read a whole lot of poetry. In truth, most of what I have read, I don’t always get or enjoy. But I am trying to broaden my experiences, and when my boys picked out a book of poetry by Nick Cannon last year, I discovered some poetry, at least, could be a great deal of fun to read out loud.
When I found Where the Sidewalk Ends last Christmas, I picked it up for my children, and it has since joined my 2017 Reading Challenge list. I have enjoyed reading this book aloud with my boys, though it has been a mixed experience for them. My oldest, at seven, has enjoyed the poems more than the younger two, but even they enjoyed at least some of them.
The book opens with this beautiful “Invitation” …
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, 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,
The boys’ favorite poems include “The Loser” and “The Planet of Mars.” I think this is mostly because of the illustrations, also by Shel Silverstein. The first of these is about someone who has lost his head, and the picture shows him sitting on it as he rests from his exertions in trying to find it. The second includes an illustration of one of the poet’s imagined Martians whose faces aren’t “in the very same places” as humans. The place for his face is on his butt, which, of course, made my boys laugh hysterically.
Silverstein’s poems are full of absurd and ridiculous images. Some of them are downright tragic. The rhymes and rhythms are wonderful and funny. And the simple illustrations brilliantly compliment the poetry throughout the book. The title poem, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” is among my favorites in the book, full of wonder and imagination.
Overall, this was a very fun read. One that should definitely be read aloud. And now that is is finished, I hope my boys will let me read it to them again. And again.
The book ends just as beautifully as it began, with the last line of the last poem, “The Search.” The book has been read, the pot of gold has been found…
What do I search for now?
I guess it’s now time for this “dreamer, wisher, liar, hope-er, pray-er, magic bean buyer” to go and spin some tales of my own.