Although Shel Silverstein passed away in 1999, his works have continued to delight children and adults alike for over 50 years. In fact, 2013 and 2014 mark several big anniversaries for some of his best known works. The 50th anniversary of his first published book, “Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back,” was celebrated last year and this year marks the 50th anniversary of “Don’t Bump the Glump!,” “A Giraffe and a Half” and “The Giving Tree.” In honorof these milestones, HarperCollins Publishers has released special editions of these works. The re-rereleases will be a perfect way to introduce your child to National Poetry Month, kicking off in April.
Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree,” is a heartwarming tale about a boy and a tree that he loves. But as time goes on “the boy grew older and the tree was often alone.” Fifty years later, the story about growing up is just as touching and poignant as ever.“The Giving Tree” was also released as an e-book for the first time to commemorate the 50th anniversary.
Silverstein’s first book, “Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back,” was the first to be published in this re-release extravaganza. In this work of prose, Lafcadio is a hunted lion, but he makes a reasonable plea with a hunter to spare his life. The hunter does not listen to Lafcadio, so he is forced to eat the hunter. Lafcadio then “takes the gun home and practices and practices until he becomes the world’s greatest sharpshooter.”
Lafcadio eventually faces an existential crisis, unsure about whether he wants to remain a respected hunter, or return to his lion friends. The book ends with Lafcadio making a surprising decision.
Seeing a return to its original cover art, Silverstein’s hilarious “A Giraffe and a Half” is also part of the anniversary celebration.
Also getting a makeover is “Don’t Bump the Glump,” Shel Silverstein’s first collection of poems. This was the only poetry book the Silverstein himself illustrated in full color.
Finally, the beloved “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” which is perhaps Silverstein’s most well known collection of poems and drawings, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Silverstein demonstrates his mastery of the English language with such poems as “The Yipiyuk” and “Mr. Grumpledump’s Song.”