Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shel Silverstein rocks Gabriel's world

My son Gabriel will turn three on September 26.  It staggers me to reflect on the changes we've witnessed in him and how very quickly these little creatures develop into full-blown characters with individual personality traits, senses of humour and pure, raw curiousity married to a stupendous sense of wonder.

As an enthusiastic reader and writer it pleases me so very much that Gabriel is completely enamoured of reading.  And, while he still enjoys the occasional 'Good night Moon' he's really gotten into the poetry of Shel Silverstein.

Right now his absolute favourite is "Me stew" - the final line of which, 'Farewell - and I hope you enjoy me with crackers."

Cracks both of us up and we read it at least three or four times before bed along with other tales.  He's also enjoying the complete tales (tails?) of Beatrix Potter.

Silverstein's poetry for kids (and those of us lucky enough to still think in a childlike fashion) is both humorous  and touching.  The title poem, "Where the sidewalk ends" is a case in point.

"There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends."

I'm just in the early stages of recovering from a hard-drive failure on my MacBook coupled with a back up failure that has left me needing to recreate my complete business - from a records perspective.  It has been frustrating and frankly depressing.  But now I'm just going to travel to where the sidewalk ends and begin again.

I don't know if this book is still in print.  If you're interested, it was published in 1974 in Canada by Fitzhenry and Whiteside.  Library of Congress card number: 70-105486.

Thanks Shel.  Gabriel loves it, his Daddy finds it inspirational and comforting and some day Samuel too will share the wonder with his brother.