Shel Silverstein

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Sheldon Allan Silverstein (September 25, 1930 – May 10, 1999),[1] better known as Shel Silverstein, was an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in his children's books. Translated into 20 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies.[2]



Born in Chicago, Silverstein began drawing at age 12 by tracing the works of Al Capp.[3] He told Jean Mercier of Publishers Weekly: "When I was a kid—12 to 14, around there—I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls, but I couldn't play ball. I couldn't dance. Luckily, the girls didn't want me. Not much I could do about that. So I started to draw and to write. I was also lucky that I didn't have anybody to copy, be impressed by. I had developed my own style; I was creating before I knew there was a Thurber, a Benchley, a Price and a Steinberg. I never saw their work till I was around 30. By the time I got to where I was attracting girls, I was already into work, and it was more important to me. Not that I wouldn't rather make love, but the work has become a habit."[4]

He attended the Art Institute of Chicago but left after one year. He was first published in the Roosevelt Torch (a student newspaper at Roosevelt University). In the military, his cartoons were published in Pacific Stars and Stripes, where he had originally been assigned to do layouts and paste-up. His first book, Take Ten, a compilation of his military Take Ten cartoon series, was published by Pacific Stars and Stripes in 1955.

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