YMMV / Shel Silverstein

  • Adaptation Displacement: The poem "Ladies First" was adapted into one of the skits on the TV special Free to Be. . . You and Me. A number of changes were made (for instance, the cannibalistic "savages" were replaced by a pack of tigers, so as not to clash with the special's pro-diversity message), but nevertheless this version is much more well-remembered, especially by children of the 1970s.
  • Award Snub: Silverstein was a Grammy winner and posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame, but never won an award for the children's books, cartoons and poetry he's best-known for.
  • Covered Up:
    • "A Boy Named Sue" is more known for the Johnny Cash cover.
    • "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" is best known as a Marianne Faithfull song.
    • "Cover of Rolling Stone" is best known as a Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show song.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The poem "Screamin' Millie." She screams so loud that she literally explodes, and it's explored in gruesome detail.
    • "The Father of a Boy Named Sue". Not to go into too much detail about the song's Perspective Flip, but there's a pretty good reason that Silverstein had to record this one himself, and it rhymes with Parental Incest.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of his poems explores the idea of a snowman who wants to live to see July.
    • He did not invent this idea. There is a German WWII era cartoon, Der Schneemann, in which a snowman actually does get to experience July, only for a few minutes, after staying in the freezer through spring.
    • Another features a character named "Dirty Dan" as the protagonist.
  • Nightmare Fuel: has its own page.
  • Paranoia Fuel: "The Toy Eater," about a creature who sneaks into the rooms of kids who don't pick up their toys at night and eats them.
  • Tear Jerker: The entirety of his last posthumously published book, Everything On It. A large portion of the poems - including the very first one in the book, "Years from Now" - are surprisingly melancholy and sorrowful.
    • His last poem in his last book is the aptly named When I am Gone:
    When I am gone what will you do?
    Who will write and draw for you?
    Someone smarter—someone new?
    Someone better—maybe YOU!
  • What an Idiot!:
    • The poem "My Sneaky Cousin", where the titular cousin has the bright idea of riding in a washing machine.
    • In the poem "Stupid Pencil Maker," the narrator is having trouble using a pencil. It does not occur to him to turn it pointy-side down.
    • In the poem "Obedient," the narrator is told to stand in the corner. The teacher forgets to tell him to turn around, so he stays there. FOR FORTY YEARS.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book, which constructs perfectly logical-sounding reasons why children should do things like throw eggs at the ceiling and ask their parents for a gigolo.
    • Children sometimes find themselves blindly wandering into his more mature work, like "The Smoke-off".
    • The Devil and Billy Markham is most definitely NOT kid-friendly.