Shel Silverstein | HarperCollins 2011 |208 pages
Twelve years after Shel Silverstein’s passing, a book of more than one hundred and thirty never-before-seen poems and drawings is published to remind of his genius. We do know that Every Thing On It was compiled by the family and the folks at Harper Collins, but we don’t know exactly how. I can only speculate that if they found this many works that hold together so well, the pool must be big and deep. Both his words and his lines take your mind into absurd and magical places with aplomb. Though his line appears so effortless and loose, his control captures the human condition with the slightest of downturn in a lip or placement of his beady eyes. His characters are every bit as surprised and dismayed at the situations in which they find themselves as we are to see them. Imagine the mistake of daring to swallow a snake or the scene about to unfold when Mustache Mo gets his mustache caught in his train’s wheels. Silverstein walks the fine line of disturbing and just a little devilish. Once you get the fever, you can’t wait to turn the page to see what he has dared you to look at and read—and you do for 200 pages. It’s inspiring, humorous, poignant, cynical, snotty and sweet. It’s just like the title—every thing on it.