25 Famous And Inspirational Shel Silverstein Poems For Kids

Children’s poetry is a great way to introduce moral education and values to children. Shel Silverstein poems for children are famous for being witty and thought-provoking in nature, blending a unique tinge of reality for the children.His poems encourage creativity and imagination in the fertile minds of children and draw them to the magical world of literature. Silverstein was a famous multi-talented artist and writer. His works on children’s literature are among the best, and he is highly regarded and often compared with the likes of Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, and Julia Donaldson. Read on further to explore Shel Silverstein poems for kids.

Did you know?

Shel Silverstein won two Grammy Awards in 1970 and 1985 in the category of Best Country Song and Best Recording for Children, respectively.

25 Famous Poems For Kids By Shel Silverstein

1. Masks

She had blue skin.
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by—
And never knew.

2. Early Bird

Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate. 
If you’re a bird, be an early bird—
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

3. Magic

Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins’ gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I’ve had to make myself.

4. Fish?

The little fish eats the tiny fish,
The big fish eats the little fish—
So only the biggest fish gets fat.
Do you know any folks like that?

5. Captain Hook

Captain Hook must remember
Not to scratch his toes.
Captain Hook must watch out
And never pick his nose.
Captain Hook must be gentle
When he shakes your hand.
Captain Hook must be careful
Openin’ sardine cans
And playing tag and pouring tea
And turnin’ pages of his book.
Lots of folks I’m glad I ain’t–
But mostly Captain Hook!

6. Yesees And Noees

The Yesees said yes to anything
That anyone suggested.
The Noees said no to everything
Unless it was proven and tested.
So the Yesees all died of much too much
And the Noees all died of fright,
But somehow I think the Thinkforyourselfees
All came out all right.

7. Invitation

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

8. How Many, How Much

How many slams in an old screen door?
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live ’em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give ’em.

9. Listen To The Mustn’ts

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then lost close to me—
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

10. Pancake?

Sweet and piping hot?
Good little Grace looks up and says,
“I’ll take the one on top.”
Who else wants a pancake,
Fresh off the griddle?
Terrible Theresa smiles and says,
“I’ll take the one in the middle.”


Shel Silverstein received a nomination for the 1991 Oscar Award for Best Music and Original Song for the moviePostcards From The Edge.

11. Snowball

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first—it wet the bed.

12. Frozen Dream

I’ll take the dream I had last night
And put it in my freezer,
So someday long and far away
When I’m an old grey geezer,
I’ll take it out and thaw it out,
This lovely dream I’ve frozen,
And boil it up and sit me down
A dip my old cold toes in.

13. Falling Up

I tripped on my shoelace
And I fell up—
Up to the roof tops,
Up over the town,
Up past the tree tops,
Up over the mountains,
Up where the colors
Blend into the sounds.
But it got me so dizzy
When I looked around,
I got sick to my stomach
And I threw down.

14. Runny’s Heading Rabits

Runny lent to the wibrary
And there were bundreds of hooks—
Bistory hooks, beography gooks,
And lots of bory stooks.
He looked them over one by one
And guess which one he took—-
A bience scook? A boetry pook?
Oh, no —a bomic cook!

15. The Homework Machine

The Homework Machine,
Oh, the Homework Machine,
Most perfect
contraption that’s ever been seen.
Just put in your homework, then drop in a dime,
Snap on the switch, and in ten seconds’ time,
Your homework comes out, quick and clean as can be.
Here it is— ‘nine plus four?’ and the answer is ‘three.’
Oh me . . .
I guess it’s not as perfect
As I thought it would be.

16. For Sale

One sister for sale!
One sister for sale!
One crying and spying young sister for sale!
I’m really not kidding,
So who’ll start the bidding?
Do I hear the dollar?
A nickel?
A penny?
Oh, isn’t there, isn’t there, isn’t there any
One kid that will buy this old sister for sale,
This crying and spying young sister for sale?

17. Gardener

We gave you a chance
To water the plants.
We didn’t mean that way– –
Now zip up your pants.

18. The Edge Of The World

Columbus said the world is round?
Don’t you believe a word of that.
For I’ve been down to the edge of the world,
Sat on the edge where the wild wind whirled,
Peeked over the ledge where the blue smoke curls,
And I can tell you, boys and girls,
The world is FLAT!

19. I Won’t Hatch

Oh I am a chicken who lives in an egg,
But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
The hens they all cackle, the roosters all beg,
But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
For I hear all the talk of pollution and war
As the people all shout and the airplanes roar,
So I’m staying in here where it’s safe and it’s warm,

20. Put Something In

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.

Did you know?

Though many of his works left an indelible mark on children’s literature, his poems were often thought-provoking and rooted in harsher realities of the world.

21. Jake Says

Yes, I’m adopted.
My folks were not blessed
With me in the usual way.
But they picked me,
They chose me
From all the rest,
Which is lots more than most kids can say.

22. Who

Who can kick a football
From here out to Afghanistan?
I can!
Who fought tigers in the street
While all the policemen ran and hid?
I did!
Who will fly and have X-ray eyes—
And be known as the man no bullet can kill?
I will! Who can sit and tell lies all night?
I might!

23. My Rules

If you want to marry me, here’s what you’ll have to do:
You must learn how to make a perfect chicken-dumpling stew.
And you must sew my holey socks,
And soothe my troubled mind,
And develop the knack for scratching my back,
And keep my shoes spotlessly shined.
And while I rest you must rake up the leaves,
And when it’s hailing and snowing
You must shovel the walk… and be still when I talk,
And—hey—where are you going?

24. It’s Dark In Here

I am writing these poems
From inside a lion,
And it’s rather dark in here.
So please excuse the handwriting
Which may not be too clear.
But this afternoon by the lion’s cage
I’m afraid I got too near.
And I’m writing these lines
From inside a lion,
And it’s rather dark in here.

25. Ourchestra

So you haven’t got a drum, just beat your belly.
So I haven’t got a horn—I’ll play my nose.
So we haven’t any cymbals—
We’ll just slap our hands together,
And though there may be orchestras
That sound a little better
With their fancy shiny instruments
That cost an awful lot—
Hey, we’re making music twice as good
By playing what we’ve got!

1. What are some famous quotes by Shel Silverstein?

‘Just ‘cause somethin’ ain’t been done Don’t mean it can’t be did…’ and‘Underneath my outside dace, There’s a face that none can see. A little less smiley, A little less sure, But a whole lot more like me.’ are some of Shel Silverstein’s quotes from Every Thing On It.

2. What are some of the famous books by Shel Silverstein?

Some renowned books written by Shel Silverstein include Falling Up, The Giving Tree, A Light in The Attic, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

3. What was the pen name of  Shel Silverstein ?

Shel Silverstein was popularly known as Uncle Shelby.

Shel Silverstein’s poetry is simple, yet it provides the children with a vast room filled with imagination and curiosity.Shel Silverstein’s poems for kids have unique wordplays and viewpoints and resonate with children and adults alike. Though critics have often questioned his inclusion of subtle and mature themes like horror, violence, and the harsh nature of lives, they make for excellent life lessons for the younger generation. In addition, reading his poetry is a great way to introduce your children to good reading habits.

Key Pointers

  • Shel Silverstein had a Midas’s touch in every field he ventured, ranging from children’s literature to music, and cartoons.
  • His poems are humorous, creative, and have a mass appeal.
  • His work has become a canon in children’s literature due to his simple and unique wordplay.

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