Skip to main content

Shel Silverstein Special Anniversary Contest

Feature and Contest

Shel Silverstein Special Anniversary Contest

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 the fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

--- Shel Silverstein, “Invitation”

This month, we’re celebrating a whole bunch of Shel Silverstein anniversaries, including the 50th of THE GIVING TREE and the 40th of WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS. It’s hard to believe these books have been around so long, especially when you think about how contemporary and still-resonant their sensibilities are. Shel was among the first authors to write what his editor once described as “good books for bad children,” and we’re so glad he did! What would our childhoods have been like without the irreverent zaniness of WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, or the heartbreakingly poignant relationship at the heart of THE GIVING TREE?

So in honor of our favorite Uncle Shelby, we’re running a month-long contest from Tuesday, February 18th until Tuesday, March 18th at noon ET. You must submit a short poem for a chance to win the unbelievable grand prize, which includes a copy of each of the following: THE GIVING TREE 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, DON’T BUMP THE GLUMP! 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, A GIRAFFE AND A HALF 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, and LAFCADIO, THE LION WHO SHOT BACK 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION. The runner-up will receive the anniversary editions of THE GIVING TREE and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS. The top two poems + our 10 favorites will be posted on the site. Get out your black turtleneck because it’s a prize so good it makes us want to rhyme…so set aside some time, and send us something sublime, better get on it because I'm...


We can't THANK YOU all enough for your heartfelt and funny poems. We were able to get our hands on some more copies so we have three full sets (!) to give to our rhyming grand prize winners, plus a copy of THE GIVING TREE and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS to our beloved runner-up. So...THE GIVING TREE wasn't far off, huh?

Your poetry inspired us to write some more poetry of our own. Below the winning poems you'll find our 20SomethingReads rhyming responses.

Grand Prize Winners:

Beverly from Hyde Park, VT
A Giraffe And A Half,
Made my granddaughter laugh.
We would love a book for free,
Maybe we'll win The Giving Tree?
20SomethingReads says:
Your poem brought Emily to tears,
Joy and laughter: Cheers to another 50 years!

Robert from Bayville, NY
There once was a bright, white snow-man
Who wished for a nice long life-span.
But when the sun did shine,
It was surely a sign,
That soon he'd become a no-man.
20SomethingReads says:
Your poem made us laugh,
The rest weren't as clever by half (jkjkjk).
So here's a book (among others) about a giraffe.


Susan from Quincy, FL
When I was small
I always wanted to ball.
Now I am old, I wish I was told
That balling is hard ---
You need a credit card.

20SomethingReads says:
Save a penny,
Spend it on a shot of Henny.
You got this one in the bag,
'Cause paying for your own books is really a drag.


Kim from Bradenton, FL
In the darkness with my cat,
Had a nightmare,
Beside me he sat,
"It's good," he purred
He was eating a bat.

20SomethingReads says:
Your poem is dark,
Your poem is funny.
We had to read it out loud,
So we're sending you free books --- you should be proud!

Honorable Mentions:

Catherine from St. Charles, MO
I remember crimson apples and a worn tree
(“And the boy loved the tree…very much. And the tree was happy”)
Whose kindness reached out and made me see
(“Cut down my trunk and make a boat… So you can be happy”)
That the side walk is still unending for me


Kate from Peoria, IL
Shel Silverstein
Taught me to glean
Information from what I’ve seen
To not thank him would be obscene.


Maria from Topeka, IN
M-mammoths munch millions monkeys many months
A-aunt alligator Avery always ate apples
R-rhinos roar red rats rarely
I-iguana Iva is in Ice Island

A-ant Anthony always ate antsy auburn apples

Sandra from Hernando, MS
Here is my poem as you have requested,
That in school, I would have detested.
Now that I'm older it seems kind of fun,
Here is the end; now I am done.

Sandra from Tampa, FL
As a teacher, I giggled through Where the Sidewalk Ends!
As a mommy, The Giving Tree was read again and again!
Now I'm the Grandma, old and gray,
Reading and laughing with my grandbabes!
Then hiding Shel's books so they don't steal 'em away!


Tiffany from Cameron, NC
I have always love reading his work,
Even when people thought I was a dork.
The giving tree helped make me humble,
Not having it in my library is a total fumble.

Don't Bump the Glump!: and Other Fantasies by Shel Silverstein - Fiction


Shel Silverstein combined his unique imagination and bold brand of humor for his first poetry collection --- the only one he illustrated in full color. Now celebrating fifty years, DON'T BUMP THE GLUMP!: AND OTHER FANTASIES was originally published in 1964, the same year as his most famous picture book, THE GIVING TREE.

A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein - Fiction


And so it goes until...but that would be telling. Children will be kept in stitches until the very end, when the situation is resolved in the most riotous way possible. Shel Silverstein's incomparable line drawings add to the hilarity of his wildly funny rhymes. Originally published in 1964, this tale is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary by bringing back its original cover art!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - Fiction


Since it was first published fifty years ago, Shel Silverstein's moving parable for readers of all ages has offered an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in return.

Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein - Fiction


"You don't have to shoot me," says the young lion. "I will be your rug and I will lie in front of your fireplace and I won't move a muscle and you can sit on me and toast all the marshmallows you want. I love marshmallows."

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein - Fiction


Come in...or 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.