Where the Sidewalk Ends

Quick Rundown:
Author and Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
Grades: PK+
Blurb: “Come in…for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.”

Where the Sidewalk Ends cover

About: April is National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate than to write about one of my favorite children’s poets: Shel Silverstein. This is one just happens to be my personal favorite by him.
This is a collection of poems and from what I’ve read, this is the first collection of poems to be published by Silverstein. Some pages have cartoons created by him which add to the magic, and other pages let the magic of the words stand alone.
Above, I didn’t cut off the grade range because people of all ages love these poems. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had children giggle while I’ve read done read alouds. Some of these poems are relatable while others are just off-the-wall funny.

Where the Sidewalk Ends excerpt

Discussion Questions:
-What was your favorite poem and why?
*Find questions focused on specific poems.
For example: Drats- How could something with only three lines be a poem?
-Do all poems rhyme?
-Do you think it is easier or harder to write poetry than it is to write stories? Explain.

Activities to try with the book:
-Fluency Practice: One thing I like to do with my students is have them pick out a poem that they enjoy. They will read through it numerous times. Once they have the hang of the words, we then add expression and work on when they should add little pauses. All of this helps them become confident readers and works on their accuracy/fluency.
Draw: I had mentioned above that not all of the poems in this book come with a drawing. Pick one of these poems and add an illustration that could go with it.
Read: When I was a general education teacher, one of the things I would do when my students were working is I’d sit at the front of the room and read poetry to them. It is so important to read to children, and I think poetry isn’t read enough.
Writing Prompt: Add to a poem written in this book.

More books by Shel Silverstein:
-The Missing Piece
-The Giving Tree
-A Light in the Attic
-Falling Up

My personal favorite from Where the Sidewalk Ends

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