Shel Silverstein shook the staid world of children’s poetry in 1974 with the publication of this collection, and things haven’t been the same since.
More than four and a half million copies of Where the Sidewalk Ends have been sold, making it the bestselling children’s poetry book ever. It’s odd poems like “Dancing Pants” or “The Dirtiest Man in the World” approach naughtiness or are a bit disgusting to squeamish grown-ups, but that’s exactly what kids like best about Silverstein’s work, the truth about them.
Long before Sponge Bob Square Pants and Bart Simpson inserted the innocence of a child inside what may be disgusting display of behavior, Shel Silverstein already imprinted it on every child that read his work or its influence since that day.
And I’m glad, even for a brief moment, I was able to share to my own kids the possibility of the endless, that they can be whatever they want to be, that they are only limited by what they allow themselves to be, and that, most of all, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.
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.”
― Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends