Poetry Books for Kids: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein is one of Reading Kingdom’s recommended poetry books for kids.  Melissa Gaynor from Sweet on Books explains why:

What You Need to Know:

Where the Sidewalk Ends is a collection of children’s poetry.
• Amusing black-and-white illustrations complement each poem.
• Fans of Shel Silverstein’s work will enjoy his other books, including A Light in the Attic.
• This 30th Anniversary special edition includes 12 new poems at the end.
• Check out shelsilverstein.com for kids’ games and ideas for teachers and parents.
• Some of the poems may raise questions with younger readers so they are best read with an adult.


This book could make any kid a lover of poetry. The poems are silly, goofy, funny, and surprising. At the same time, they are infinitely clever and thought-provoking. They touch upon familiar things like holidays, ice cream, a snowman, and fishing, but often with a subtle twist at the end. For example, in his poem Alice, he says,

She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And up she grew so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothin’ at all.

Whether it’s a an unusual take on a storybook character, a shadow that shrinks in the wash, a romance between a turtle and a bagpipe, or the possibilities of a world gone crazy, Shel Silverstein’s poems are sure to inspire readers, both young and old. Although most will end in laughter, poems like Dreadful which begins with, “Someone ate the baby…” may have your kids asking you what exactly was going on in Shel Silverstein’s head!

I’ve been reading Where the Sidewalk Ends with my 10 year-old son recently, and I’m sure that he has wondered that on a few occasions. But, when I hear his nightly request, “Mom, are we going to read Shel?”, I know that whether these poems evoke smiles, frowns or questions, the moments with us and Shel Silverstein are going to last a lifetime.”

Have your children read “Where the Sidewalk Ends”?  If so, let us know what they thought in the comments below!

Visit the Reading Kingdom and sign up for a free 30 day trial of our online reading program.  Along with our large collection of great books for kids, we also feature free worksheets, activities for kids, and other educational resources for parents and teachers that make the Reading Kingdom a go-to place for children’s literacy and education!