Everyone has brought up a LOT of great books to discuss during Banned Books Week, but I haven't seen much on A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC. I think it's easy to forget the controversy here because it doesn't contain the obvious: sex, drugs, cursing, etc.
Well my friends...even Shel couldn't avoid the Stamp of Disapproval.
Apparently the poem "How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes" encouraged bad behavior according to parents and teachers. And "Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony"...well, Shel even has a note to parents at the end here:
"This is a good story
To read to your folks
When they won't buy
You something you want."
Just so you know, it's about a little girl named Abigail who wanted a pony. When her parents refused her the pony, she swore that if she didn't get that pony, she'd die. Her parents scoffed at that. And then she died.
Hahahahaha! Go on, admit it. That's funny! It's so ridiculous and morbid but mostly ridiculous that it's really, really funny! And I remember loving this stuff when I was a kid. I *knew* it wasn't truly possible, but it didn't stop me from laughing.
And let's not forget the ever-controversial rear-end illustration in his poem "Spelling Bee." Go on. Pick up your copy and flip to page 81. Hilarious, right?
The point is that Shel Silverstein made learning FUN. He wrote in a way that made kids want to read on their own, to pronounce the big words he used, to laugh. I, for one, would be a very different person than I am today without author's like Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl (whose James and the Giant Peach was also banned).
Thank you, Mr. Silverstein.
For everything you've written.
If it weren't for you,
in books, I'd not be smitten.
Hey...that's GOLD there people. GOLD.