Booklovers Anonymous: Where the Sidewalk Ends

“If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…

If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

Where the Sidewalk Ends

So begins Invitation, one of my favorite poems by one of my all-time favorite poets, Shel Silverstein. Where the Sidewalk Ends is one of his collections of poetry that I have been reading out loud, in my home and in my classroom, for years. My kids and I love the silly rhymes “Fred?” and “The Yipiyuk” and the more serious tones of “Invitation” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.

I usually start our day with reading a random poem just for fun. In the past, my kids have drawn illustrations to go with Shel Silverstein’s poems and his work has inspired them to write their own. What I think I love most about his work is how clearly he illustrates pictures in your head. Since I was a little girl, when my Nana read me The Giving Tree, his work has just rolled off the page and into my head. A great intro to poetry for big and little children, Where the Sidewalk Ends has examples of many poetry forms.

In addition to reading, my kids have also used poems from this book for memory work and copy work. For more fun lessons and activities, check out the Shel Silverstein website. Here you will find animations to go with his poems, lessons and activities with printables, and drawing pages. Readworks has a lesson plan for Where the Sidewalk Ends that teaches about author’s voice. At Fun with Poetry, find multiple teacher resources and an audio recording of The Unicorn Song (one of the first poems my kids ever memorized).

Shel Silverstein books are readily available in the library, but I would recommend purchasing them because they are a treasure to have on your bookshelf. I believe Where the Sidewalk Ends will end up on my grandchild’s shelf one day, because this is just the type of book you pass down for generations.  Take your kids to the magical 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.”

If you have a favorite Shel Silverstein poem, let me know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by this week, be sure to come back next Thursday for more books!

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