A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein

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Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Nov 13, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages

Few authors are as beloved as Shel Silverstein. His inimitable drawings and comic poems have become the bedtime staples of millions of children and their parents, but few readers know much about the man behind that wild-eyed, bearded face peering out from the backs of dust jackets.

In A Boy Named Shel, Lisa Rogak tells the full story of a life as antic and adventurous as any of his creations. A man with an incurable case of wanderlust, Shel kept homes on both coasts and many places in between---and enjoyed regular stays in the Playboy Mansion. Everywhere he went he charmed neighbors, made countless friends, and romanced almost as many women with his unstoppable energy and never-ending wit.

His boundless creativity brought him fame and fortune---neither of which changed his down-to-earth way of life---and his children's books sold millions of copies. But he was much more than "just" a children's writer. He collaborated with anyone who crossed his path, and found success in a wider range of genres than most artists could ever hope to master. He penned hit songs like "A Boy Named Sue" and "The Unicorn." He drew cartoons for Stars & Stripes and got his big break with Playboy. He wrote experimental plays and collaborated on scripts with David Mamet. With a seemingly unending stream of fresh ideas, he worked compulsively and enthusiastically on a wide array of projects up until his death, in 1999.

Drawing on wide-ranging interviews and in-depth research, Rogak gives fans a warm, enlightening portrait of an artist whose imaginative spirit created the poems, songs, and drawings that have touched the lives of so many children---and adults.

 

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User Review  - librarybrandy - LibraryThing

You know what? I'm giving up. Shel Silverstein was, I suspect, a fascinating man, but you wouldn't know it from this biography. The author does little synthesis of the facts and quotes she collected ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TurtleBoy - LibraryThing

What's most enjoyable about this book, clearly, is the subject. The centerpiece of this biography is Shel Silverstein's magical ability to entertain both young and old with his stories, songs ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1A Boy Named Shel
2Wildlife
3No Grownups
4Different Dances
5Drain My Brain
6Underwater Land
7The Lifeboat Is Sinking
8The Empty Room
9Songs Stories
10Im Checking Out
Notes
List of Shel Sliversteins Work
Acknowledgments
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Lisa Rogak is the author of more than forty books. Her most recent biography was The Man Behind the Da Vinci Code: An Unauthorized Biography of Dan Brown. She lives in New Hampshire.

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