Nightmare Fuel / Shel Silverstein
Now you know to tear off the back cover of The Giving Tree
before giving to children
- There was a drawing for a poem about a kid wanting a pet monster of a huge lion with an ugly face and gigantic nose.
- Silverstein's poem "Peanut-Butter Sandwich" made some afraid that if they ate peanut butter their mouth would eventually be sealed shut and cause them to starve to death.
- At least one edition of The Giving Tree devotes its entire back cover to the least flattering photo of Silverstein that could ever be printed, as seen above. It makes him look like a horrible dwarf that hiked out of the uncanny valley with hopes of joining the circus. This slightly blurry black-and-white photograph takes up the book's ENTIRE back cover.
- This was referenced in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, in which the protagonist, Greg, is scared by a similar portrait - which his father uses to make sure he doesn't get up in the middle of the night, saying that Silverstein would be outside.
- And apparently, he chose that picture himself.
- There's also the back cover◊ of A Light in the Attic. There's something very off about his smile, and how his head is shrouded in all of that blackness...
- The one about the monster standing right behind me, coupled with that horrible drawing, related to the poem mentioned above.
- The introduction to "Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book" pretty much sums it up. Although it must be remembered that Mr. Silverstein will, for some time to come, be associated with the kind of grass that does not grow on lawns. Which goes a long way towards explaining some of his poetry.
- "Hungry Mungry". Some normal person eating his family, then the world, then the freaking universe, and then his body, and still being alive to gnash his teeth because there's nothing left to eat...
- "Obedient". A kid gets in trouble at school. He has to stand in the corner. They forget to tell him to go home the next day, and the next. He stands there all through summer vacation. They close down the school. He stands there for forty years.
- There was always something ...wrong about the cover to A Light In The Attic.
- The poem "Skin Stealer". Just the title is unsettling, and then: "That scoundrel you see / Is not really me / He's the coo-coo / Who's wearing my skin." The illustration is pretty scary for kids, too.
- Shel Silverstein's songs are proudly mentioned here. Besides being a creator to children's books and illustrations he is also renown for his songs. One song in particular titled "Always Welcome At Our House". It starts off innocent sounding enough and plays in an uppity, child friendly like manner. Instead, the listener is treated to a song that sounds more suitable towards a deranged serial killer/sociopath than an actual "children's song".
- The song was also used on an episode of The Muppet Show sang and performed creepily by Marisa Berenson (mentioned also on The Muppet Show Nightmare Fuel's page).
- Shel Silverstein's poems have a way of touching on the unknown, the uncanny, and the inexplicable. A lot of them feel like bizarre dreams, which can get quite creepy at times.
- "The Nap Taker." A child is taken by a nap to a far-off land, and is put on trial for taking a nap. The judge ignores his innocence and sentences him to a 90 million year nap. Harsh.
- "The Toy Eater," a poem about a monster who comes "tiptoeing in through the crack in the door" and eats children's toys when they don't put them away.