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Falling Up Hardcover – January 24, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

All the things that children loved about A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends can be found in abundance in this eclectic volume, Silverstein's first book of poetry in 20 years. By turns cheeky and clever and often darkly subversive, the poems are vintage Silverstein, presented in a black-and-white format that duplicates his earlier books. Like Roald Dahl, Silverstein's cartoons and poems are humorously seditious, often giving voice to a child's desire to be empowered or to retaliate for perceived injustice: one child character wields a "Remote-a-Dad" that will instantly control his father, and another dreams of his teachers becoming his students so that when they talk or laugh in class, he can "pinch 'em 'til they [cry]." The poems focus on the unexpected-a piglet receives a "people-back ride" and Medusa's snake-hair argues about whether to be coifed in cornrows or bangs. Sometimes the art traffics in gross-out, as when William Tell gets an arrow through his forehead or a cartoon character sticks carrots in his sockets because he's heard that carrots are good for his eyes. Although some parents and teachers may cringe at such touches, Silverstein's anti-establishment humor percolates as he lampoons conventions (the stork not only brings babies but "comes and gets the older folks/ When it's their time to go"), or discards decorum (a small gardener zips up his pants after watering the plants "that way"). No matter that the author's rhythms and rhymes can be sloppy, or that his annoying insistence on leavin' off the endin' to his ING's seems artificially folksy, Silverstein's ability to see the world from, as he says, "a different angle" will undoubtedly earn this book a wide audience. All ages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up?Fifteen years after A Light in the Attic (1981) and 22 years after Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974, both HarperCollins), Silverstein, whose poetry has achieved cultlike popularity, offers readers another collection. While bodily functions seem to be the source of humor in more poems than in the earlier titles, and while there are fewer wonderful images here, the child appeal is as strong as ever. Once again, Silverstein's pen-and-ink drawings are the perfect accompaniment to the poems, always extending and often explaining the words. The book abounds in energetic wordplay ("I saw an ol' gnome/Take a gknock at a gnat/Who was gnibbling the gnose of his gnu") and childlike silliness ("I only ate one drumstick/At the picnic dance this summer...But everybody's mad at me,/Especially the drummer"). Silverstein writes wonderful nonsense verse, but he has used rhyme and rhythm to greater effect in the past. There is much to love in Falling Up, but it has its ups and downs.?Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060248025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060248024
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"And now, children, your Uncle Shelby is going to tell you a story about a very strange lion- in fact, the strangest lion I have ever met." So begins Shel Silverstein's very first children's book, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back. It's funny and sad and has made readers laugh and think since it was published in 1963. It was followed the next year by three more books. The first of them, The Giving Tree, is a moving story about the love of a tree for a boy. Shel returned to humor the same year with A Giraffe and a Half, delighting readers with a most riotous ending. The third book in 1964 was Uncle Shelby's Zoo Don't Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies, Shel's first poetry collection, and his first and only book illustrated in full color. It combined his unique imagination and bold brand of humor in this collection of silly and scary creatures. Shel's second collection of poems and drawings, Where the Sidewalk Ends, was published in 1974. His recording of the poems won him a Grammy for best Children's Album. In this collection, Shel invited children to dream and dare to imagine the impossible, from a hippopotamus sandwich to the longest nose in the world. With his next collection of poems and drawings, A Light in the Attic, published in 1981, Shel asked his readers to turn the light on in their attics, to put something silly in the world, and not to be discouraged by the Whatifs. Instead he urged readers to catch the moon or invite a dinosaur to dinner- to have fun! A Light in the Attic was the first children's book to break onto the New York Times Bestseller List, where it stayed for a record-breaking 182 weeks. The last book that was published before his death in 1999 was Falling Up (1996). Like his other books, it is filled with unforgettable characters. Shel Silverstein's legacy continued with the release of a new work,Runny Babbit, the first posthumous publication conceived and completed before his death and released in March 2005. Witty and wondrous, Runny Babbit is a poetry collection of simple spoonerismsH, which twist the tongue and tease the mind. Don't Bump the Glump! And Other Fantasies was recently reissued in 2008 after being unavailable for over 30 years. Shel was always a believer in letting his work do the talking for him--few authors have ever done it better.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By WendyInWA on February 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What can I say, except my 10 year old fifth-grader who does not like to read much at all, enjoys reading this book of poems before going to bed each night. I am so grateful he enjoys reading them. I have read some of them outloud to him and they are funny, they ryhme and they have great imagination. If you have a child of any age, I recommend this book to expose him/her to the creative art of poetry and just because they're fun!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book so many times I can't even count, and it never seems to get old. This book is full of great poems written by a great poet. I have read every one of his books and they all are wonderful. I recommend this book to anyone at any age who enjoys a poetry.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I purchased Falling Up on a whim, not sure if my 4 year old daughter would like it since much of the humor is derived from plays on words or double meanings. However, she absolutely loved it. Falling Up is a regular request at bedtime - one that I actually don't dread reading for the 100th time. She's even memorized a couple of the shorter poems on her own.
I can't say enough about this book. The first time I read it, I had histerical fits - some of the poems/drawings are just so cleverly ridiculous!
The "Horn Book" review above is way off base. I found Silverstein's previous collections less clever, less consistant in meter, and actually more bizzare. After going back and reading his earlier works, I assumed he'd settled down a bit in his old age. I think the reviewer (if they even read the whole book) was comparing their experience with their memory of encountering his earlier works for the first time.
I think Silverstein's poems are so unexpected that the first book you read becomes your favorite, and all others fail to measure up. A family friend swore we would like "Where the Sidewalk Ends" better, and my mother felt the same about "A Light in the Attic". WRONG - after a week or so of each, we were ready to trade back and read some more "Falling Up".
"Falling Up" is definitely our family's favorite, so if you get only one of the three collections, I recommend you make it this one.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Beverly J. Scott on September 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Falling Up" by Shel Silverstein,

Is full of witty and whimsical rhymes,

Page after page, line after line,

From rainbow beauty to slippery slime,

Shel's poetry settles into your mind,

Making you laugh, time after time,

No matter your age, they read fine,

A book so great I plan to share mine.

Beverly J Scott author of Jena's Choice
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eden Oralye Wack on March 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Falling up by Shel Sylverstien is one of the all time greatest poem books. This is a great book for someone who just wants to relax and enjoy reading something silly not serious. It is good to laugh and even better to laugh at what you are reading because at the same time you are working your brain as well as exercising your sense of humor. Mr. Sylverstien uses the most interesting words to express himself in his poems. It amazes me at how he can pull all of these funny things out of his head. There are so many great poems in this one book so that I could not possibly tell you about just one. Some of the poems are so outrageously funny and the few serious ones are still a little humorous which is what makes the poems so good. Shel wrights many poems and has published many books. It surprises me that all of these different ideas and feelings can come from one man. From a tattooed suit to a pet snowball, from a pencil made wrong to a world where things are completely opposite, even the stories that are about life lessons are still really good. Some books by Shel Sylverstien are Where The Sidewalk Ends, A Light In The Attic, and The Giving Tree. Those stories are just as good as Falling Up. The author Shel Sylverstien, the book, Falling up. It is an enjoyable read that can be found at most bookstores, libraries, and online.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Falling Up is the third collection of poems and drawings offered to us by the multi-talented Silverstien.
This book will appeal to the child and inner-child alike.
Regarding age, this book like: "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and "A Light in the Attic", knows no boundries.
In addition to being a poet, Shel Silverstien is an accomplished cartoonist, playwrite and lyricist.
Mr. Silverstein played a big part in the early career of Dr. Hook, writing such hits as "The Freaker's Ball", "Cover of the Rolling Stone" and many others.
The popular country classic "One's on the Way" by Loretta Lynn was penned by Shel Silverstein.
The Irish Rover's signature song "The Unicorn" was also written by Silverstein and can be found in "Where the Sidewalk Ends".

If the author is Shel Silverstein, you can't miss, as the copy within is sure to be a hit!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I admit, I will read absolutely anything and everything that Shel Silverstein has ever written, be they the children's lit or the song lyrics from albums like "Freakin' at the Freaker's Ball" to the Playboy cartoons to my personal fave, "Uncle Shelby's ABZ book". So when I got the chance to read the entirety of "Falling Up" yesterday, I jumped at the chance.
First point though--in the fifteen years separating "A Light in the Attic" and "Falling Up", Shel wasn't exactly silent. He only wrote nine plays, a screenplay with David Mamet, co-wrote the score to "Postcards on the Edge", and wrote most of the lyrics for the Bob Gibson Album "Making a Mess of Commercial Success". Just so you all would know :-)
To the people who criticize Shel for possibly misusing the English language just to make a rhyme, well, it's not like it hasn't been done before, folks. Look at E.Y. Harburg's lyrics for a previous example, and that didn't stop *him* from being an acclaimed lyricist. Besides, the device still works.
The poems and drawings certainly made me laugh aloud; however, I must admit that the work is slightly inferior to his earlier books of poetry. Although I wonder--was I the only person who noticed that the poem about the "Gnome and the Gnu" was pilfered to a great degree from the breezily little nonsense song "I'm a Gnu" by Flanders & Swann? But it's a minor quibble.
In any case, these poems will certainly appeal to children of all ages. And here's hoping that the big kids will get a treat of their own in the form of more offerings from the adult side of Shel Silverstein.
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