Poetry fosters creativity in children. Shel Silverstein perfected this art of writing poetry with an instantly recognisable visual and literary style and can be easily understood by kids of all ages. In fact, he created his distinctive brand of humorous verse and illustrated them with bold and comical line drawings that were outrageously funny and profound.
Best Shel Silverstein Poems for Kids
Children are not only fascinated by the world around them but find hope, joy, and laughter in little aspects of life. Hence, childhood is a period of tremendous physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, and language development. Exposing kids to poetry early is a great way to motivate them to read, build phonemic awareness like rhythmic patterns, fluency and expression, expand vocabulary, and sharpen writing skills that would positively influence school readiness and, later, success in life. The joy of reading or listening to poetry can begin when children are very young. Some of the most-loved children’s authors use poetry to strengthen their literacy skills while creating entertaining stories with messages. It helps children understand their own emotions, express their feelings and cultivate valuable qualities like compassion and empathy. Shel Silverstein was one such American playwright, cartoonist, performer, recording artist, and poet who was an astute creator of children’s books. His poems teach valuable life-lessons through imaginative wordplay and minimal illustrations that complement their message. Shel Silverstein’s poems about friendship teach about the importance of having good friends. While the raspy playful rhythm and rhyme of Shel Silverstein’s funny poems make them quite entertaining for kids. Here’s a compilation of some of the most memorable Shel Silverstein poems containing a mix of absurd characters, and thought-provoking and insightful ideas. Silverstein could undoubtedly combine absurd and ironic, imagination and insight, whimsy and profundity deftly to create his iconic poems that have a wide appeal among readers. Here is a compilation of some of the best poems by Shel Silverstein that are clever and funny with their weird, irreverent twists and turns, and wild, imaginative flights.
1. ‘Masks’ By Shel Silverstein
She had blue skin.
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by
And never knew.’
2. ‘Friendship’ By Shel Silverstein
“I’ve discovered a way to stay friends forever—
There’s really nothing to it.
I simply tell you what to do
And you do it!!”
3. ‘Pancake? – Where the Sidewalk Ends’ By Shel Silverstein
Who wants a pancake,
Sweet and piping hot?
Good little Grace looks up and says,
“I’ll take the one on the top.”
Who else wants a pancake,
Fresh off the griddle?
Terrible Teresa smiles and says,
“I’ll take the one in the middle.”
4. ‘Noisy Day-Falling Up’ By Shel Silverstein
Let’s have one day for girls and boyses
When you can make the grandest noise
Screech, scream, holler, and yell
Buzz a buzzer, clang a bell,
Laugh until your lungs wear out.
5. ‘Sick’ By Shel Silverstein
“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chickenpox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut–my eyes are blue–
It might be Instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”
6. ‘Snowball’ By Shel Silverstein
I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first it wet the bed.
7. ‘The Homework Machine’ By Shel Silverstein
The Homework Machine, oh the Homework Machine,
Most perfect contraption that’s ever been seen.
Just put in your homework, then drop in a dime,
Snap on the switch, and in ten seconds time,
Your homework comes out, quick and clean as can be.
Here it is – “nine plus four?” and the answer is “three”.
I guess it’s not as perfect
As I thought it would be..
8. ‘Falling Up’ By Shel Silverstein
I tripped on my shoelace
And I fell up
Up to the rooftops,
Up over the town,
Up past the treetops,
Up over the mountains,
Up where the colours
Blend into the sounds.
But it got me so dizzy
When I looked around,
I got sick to my stomach
And I threw down.
9. ‘Runny’s Heading Rabits’ By Shel Silverstein
Runny lent to the wibrary
And there were bundreds of hooks-
Bistory hooks, beography gooks,
And lots of bory stooks,
He looked them over one by one
And guess which one he took
A bience scook? A boetry pook?
Oh, no-a bomic cook!
10. ‘How Many Slams in an Old Screen Door?’ By Shel Silverstein
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live ’em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give ’em’
11. ‘The Land of Happy’ By Shel Silverstein
Have you been to The Land of happy?
Where everyone’s happy all day
Where they joke and sing of the happiest things,
And everything’s jolly and gay?
There’s no one unhappy in Happy
There’s laughter and smiles galore.
I have been to the The Land of Happy
What a bore!
12. ‘The Edge of the World- Where the Sidewalk Ends’ By Shel Silverstein
Columbus said the world is round?
Don’t you believe a word of that?
For I’ve been down to the edge of the world,
Sat on the edge where the wild wind whirled,
Peeked over the ledge where the blue smoke curls,
And I can tell you, boys and girls,
The world is FLAT!
Reading Shel Silverstein’s poetic works offer a mind-altering experience. Combining a wide range of emotions, from sly humour to heartbreaking pathos, absurd to ironic, fanciful to gentle, sharp wit to inspirational, he captures the innocence of a child’s imagination without being peachy, sentimental, or trite. No wonder his mini-masterpieces have been translated into many languages and have endured the test of time!