Shel Silverstein's First Book Turns 50: Unseen Images From the Archive
2:53 PM PDT 9/23/2013 by Tim Appelo
HarperCollins celebrates the author, cartoonist and Grammy-winning songwriter, who sold over 35 million hardcover books, with a series of anniversary releases. First up: "Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back," out Sept. 24.
A yearlong 50th anniversary "Shel-ebration" of Shel Silverstein kicks off Sept. 24, with republished classics, a new ShelSilverstein.com site, and rare artwork and photos, including this long-out-of-print 1959 shot of Shel with his fans.
Where the Poetry Began
Silverstein's first collection that included poetry with drawings, Where the Sidewalk Ends, will be published in a 40th anniversary edition on Feb. 18. In 1974, it was on the New York Times best-seller list for 182 weeks. Who knew poetry could sell.
Shel's Miracle Year: 1964
Always prolific, Silverstein was insanely productive in 1964, when he wrote and illustrated four books, including the simple yet deep fable The Giving Tree. HarperCollins will republish the towering book of 20th century kids' literature in a 50th anniversary edition Feb. 18.
Zoo Beasts Escape Shel's Mind
Originally titled Uncle Shelby's Zoo, 1964's Don't Bump the Glump, to be republished Feb. 18, introduced readers to creatures like the Glub-Toothed Sline.
Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?
Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? continued Silverstein's 1964 miracle year, helping propel his hardcover book sales to an eventual, and incredible, 35 million copies. The long-forgotten book will be revived and revised in Simon & Schuster's 2014 anniversary edition.
What Are Rhinos Good For?
As kids suspected and Silverstein's book confirmed, a rhino comes in handy in all sorts of situations: storing donuts, opening pop cans and imitating a shark at the beach. Every kid should have one -- or at least the book Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?
A Giraffe Comes Back
Silverstein's 1964 A Giraffe and a Half will be republished with its original cover in February.
Back By Popular Demand: Shel's Hair
On the back cover of the 50th anniversary edition of A Giraffe and a Half, there's a rare photo of Shel Silverstein before his hairline attained its famous clean-head look.
'Lafcadio' Roars Back
The first book to kick off the yearlong "Shel-ebration" on Sept. 24 is Silverstein's book about a lion who gets famous, Lafcadio. "That book is so analogous to Shel's life," says Mitch Myers, director of the Silverstein archive. "Like Lafcadio, he became a literary lion."
This never-before-seen drawing of Lafcadio in Greenwich Village, published as part of the 50th-anniversary Shel Silverstein celebration, has a lot in common with the artist, says Myers. "Shel was always outside Cafe Dante, drinking espresso and drawing. It's like a self-portrait."
Shel Silverstein, Master of All Media
Besides his 35 million children's books, Shel Silverstein was a Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter who wrote Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue," Dr. Hook's "Cover of the Rolling Stone," and "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan," heard in Thelma & Louise. Help celebrate him at ShelSilverstein.com.