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May 2008 Archives

May 25, 2008

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

A Boy Named Shel (Lisa Rogak, St. Martins Press) is perhaps one of the first comprehensive bios ever written about the celebrated author of The Giving Tree, The Light In The Attic, and Where The Sidewalk Ends. But if you only know Shel from his award winning children's books, then you only know a fraction of the man's work. As Rogak so eloquently lays out in her book, Shel was also a multitalented Playboy cartoonist, songwriter, and playwright. As a songwriter, Shel penned Johnny Cash's monster hit A Boy Named Sue as well as numerous songs for the pop group Dr. Hook. He was thought so highly as a tunesmith that even Bob Dylan sought his advice. He also collaborated with David Mamet on screen and stage plays. While Shel had numerous friends and collaborators, he at times remained a bit of a hermit and rarely gave interviews. This reclusiveness makes the biographer's job difficult, but Rogak more than meets the challenge of explaining how this Playboy cartoonist became a writer of songs and books for kids. She treats her subject with plenty of respect but doesn't gloss over his human frailties. This results in a well rounded portrait of the larger than life presense called Shel Silverstein. Shel believed a day not creating was a day wasted. My sentiments exactly.

About May 2008

This page contains all entries posted to DR. BYNUM'S SHOW in May 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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