Hearing that Shel Silverstein’s “Everything On It” published today was like receiving an unexpected visit from a childhood friend we loved but lost along the way.
Luckily, Silverstein is easy to remember, perhaps it’s because he planned it that way. “Everything on It,” released nearly 12 years after his death, includes 145 poems edited by Toni Markiet. Markiet told NPR she took pains to stay true to Silverstein’s original design aesthetic.
“He would move a piece of art over an 18th of an inch ... and look at how it looked on a page,” Markiet said. “You could let [the book] open at any page, and you would be entertained.”
It doesn’t take long to conjure forth the whimsical drawings and poems Silverstein lovingly made. The bald, still-somehow-shaggy poet with a toothy grin brought us spindly boys and girls finding themselves in outlandish situations. We remember girls eating entire whales — or boys gulped alive by boa constrictors — in “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “A Light in the Attic.” We remember the king of the jungle we befriended in “Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back.” And we remember the unconditional love of “The Giving Tree.”
But as abruptly as he returns, and just as we’re getting comfortable, Silverstein leaves us again: “When I am gone what will you do?/Who will write and draw for you?”