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A Light in the Attic

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  294,807 Ratings  ·  2,341 Reviews
Alternate-cover 25th Anniversary reissue edition can be found here
Last night while I lay thinking here
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:

Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?...
Here in the attic of Shel Silverstei
Hardcover, First Edition, 175 pages
Published October 7th 1981 by HarperCollins
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Jenny L. McGee Quirky, funny and creative childrens poems that spur imagination and literary conversations with your kids. I loved it as a kid .grade school reading…moreQuirky, funny and creative childrens poems that spur imagination and literary conversations with your kids. I loved it as a kid .grade school reading level.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 10, 2008 Austin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Austin by: Almost Everyone
Every child eventually discovers the perverted old man who wrote songs for Johnny Cash, did illustrations for Playboy, appeared on the Dr. Demento show numerous times, and managed to get a few books published along the way.

For some reason, parents never seem to think this creepy old guy who was so fond of children was in any way "disturbing," something I'm continually impressed with in the "ban now, ask questions later" climate of modern culture. If there are people who don't like Shel Silverst
Anna M.
2016 Genre Challenge: Poetry
“A Light in the Attic” is one of Shel Silverstein’s best yet most controversial books of poems ever written. This book is full of poems about clowns, pirates, monsters and all manner of strange people and animals doing crazy things. “A Light in the Attic” may be too suggestive and morbid for smaller children, but older children will easily delight themselves with the silly shenanigans of the characters.

Shel Silverstein’s writing is as witty as it is funny as he writes each character’s stories i
Apr 06, 2007 Janine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is or was a child. Those who were never children probably wouldn't get it anyway.
Shelves: kidsbooks
The feelings I have about Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic and Where The Sidewalk Ends contrast so sharply with the books themselves. I loved these funny, whimsical and sometimes downright sadistic poems with all of my young heart. Even now, I feel like I'm getting away with something when I think of Clarence Lee from Tennesee who loved the commercials he saw on TV. I am still afraid for Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too who never returned to the world they knew. In Shel Silverstein's bo ...more
Emily May
Oct 26, 2012 Emily May rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, poetry
“Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.”
Oct 25, 2007 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Recently, I started re-reading A Light in the Attic with my younger daughter, who's four-and-a-half. I think when I first read it I must have been about eight or nine years old, because I remember reading it myself, and loving it. (I must have checked it out of the library about a million times.) What's not to love? Shel gives us such gems as:

There's a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire--
He likes it 'cause it's cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hair
Dec 16, 2016 Gauri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a little bit from this book everyday to my younger brother this past week. I can't remember if I finished this myself in my own childhood, but it felt like I read it for the first time, so I'll put this in the list of books I read this year.
This is a book full of poems about jokes or about little lessons presented in comical ways. It gets little kids thinking and gets them interested about deeper thinking. Definitely a must-read for children!
Jul 29, 2010 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
4.0 to 4.5 stars. One of those books that can be enjoyed by children and adults depending on how deeply you dive into the meaning of the stories. Incredibly imaginative and very well done.
DJ Harris
Mar 27, 2013 DJ Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Need to feel like a kid again? Cozy up with this humorous and whimsical book of poetry. Kids of all ages are sure to enjoy Shel Silverstein's fanciful word play in this amusing collection.

Besides reading this book myself, I also purchased a copy of this book for my children and grandchildren. It is a good book to get your children into reading.


A Light in the Attic (Hardcover) by Shel Silverstein


"Somebody Has To

Somebody has to go polish the stars,
They’re looking a little bit dull.
Somebody has to go polish the
Apr 04, 2015 Neda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The saddest thing I ever did see
Was a woodpecker peckin' at a plastic tree.
He looks at me, and "Friend," says he,
' "Things ain't as sweet as they used to be."

While reading I noticed that I've had read it long ago.. But I just couldn't stop! I just love Shel!
Sarafina b.
Feb 24, 2016 Sarafina b. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my! I remember how much I loved to read these poems back in elementary school! Such good memories, I NEED to own this.
Jul 04, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Shel Silverstein was the author of my childhood, and I was surprised to find that, in (sort of) adulthood, A light in the Attic hasn't lost any of its charm. In fact, I've discovered new layers of humor and meaning I couldn't have processed when I was eight.

I credit Shel Silverstein with my early love of poetry and, ultimately, literature. Recommend to anyone at any age, but a GREAT gift for a godson/ goddaughter, niece/ nephew, etc.. They'll cherish it forever!
Ammara Abid
Dec 05, 2016 Ammara Abid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant.
Every time I read it, every time I love it more.
Many poems are my favorite, I can't write all of them here but couldn't resist myself sharing these two,

The Nailbiter
Some people manicure their nails,
Some people trim them neatly,
Some people keep them filed down,
I bite ’em off completely.
Yes, it’s a nasty habit, but
Before you start to scold,
Remember, I have never ever
Scratched a single soul.

Zebra Question
I asked the zebra
Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with bl
Rebecca McNutt
I really liked A Light in the Attic, and its oddly-optimistic style and cheerful little illustrations. A few of the poems were a little vulgar, which I didn't enjoy, but otherwise this is a great book that both adults and kids can have fun reading.
Oct 01, 2007 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who giggle
Shel Silverstein was misunderstood.

He was a genius, but not an evil one. Just a hilarious one.

His books are looked at with suspicion. But shouldn't be, because they are full of fun, pun, and literate value.

Here is why this one was challenged by others, however:

"features a caricature of a person whose nude behind has been stung by a bee; the poem 'Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony' is morbid; imparts a 'dreary' and 'negative' message; encourages kids to break dishes so that they won't have t
Nabila Tabassum Chowdhury
এই বইটা বেশ অনেকদিন ধরে একটু একটু করে পড়ছিলাম। পাগলামির একশেষ। অদভুত একটা বই। উদভট সব কনসেপট। আজগুবি সব ছবি। তবুও আমার অনেএএএএক ভাল লেগেছে। পোয়েম গুলো মূলত ননসেনস পোয়েম। কিনতু বেশ অনেকগুলোরই ইনার ডেপথও আছে। বইয়ের পরায় দেড়শ পোয়েমের মাঝে দুই/একটা পোয়েম নিয়ে আমার আপততি থাকলেও সেটার জনয একটা তারা কেটে দেয়াটা উচিত হবে না বলেই মনে হল।

ফাইনাল পরীকষার সটরেসফুল কয়েকটি সপতাহ জুড়ে সটরেস ভুলে কিছু সময় দাঁত বের করে হেসে কাটানো গেল এই বইটা থাকাতে। ধনযবাদ শেল সিলভারসটাইন। আপনাকে আমি ইংরেজি ভাষার সুকুমার রায় বলে
Aug 02, 2007 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Picture this,
I am 7,its Christmas and all the gifts are wrapped and under the tree.
I could see through the wrapping paper a faint outline of the cover of A Light in the Attic.
I begged.
I screamed.
I was not allowed to open the present even though I knew what it was.
But... I still have the original copy and read it to my son and because of my harrowing experience I love this book even more.
Luke Lafountain
Apr 06, 2008 Luke Lafountain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Luke by: Everyone
I am going to start out by saying I really loved this book. i have been getting into poems lately so i decided to read this. There really is no main story but is just a collage of poems. It is primarily meant for children but the values expressed in it are one everyone should know-no matter what age. Everything is pretty direct and simple so its not a chore to read. This is a very simple book that i think everyone should read.
Amber Adams
Apr 22, 2013 Amber Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One picture puzzle piece

Lyin’ on the sidewalk,

One picture puzzle piece

Soakin’ in the rain.

It might be a button of blue

On the coat of the woman

Who lived in a shoe.

It might be a magical bean,

Or a fold in the red

Velvet robe of a queen.

It might be the one little bite

Of the apple her stepmother

Gave to Snow White.

It might be the veil of a bride

Or a bottle with some evil genie inside.

It might be a small tuft of hair

On the big bouncy belly

Of Bobo the Bear.

It might be a bit of the cloak

Of the Witch of th
Mar 15, 2008 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who needs to giggle.
I used this book for a talent show in Jr High. I don't remember what poem I did, but one that I incidentally memorized along the way is still really funny to me.

Crowded Tub

There s too many kids in this tub.
There s too many elbows to scrub.
I just washed a behind
That I m sure wasn t mine
There s too many kids in this tub.

I quote it for my kids and they look at me in shock and then start giggling. The imagery is just too good. :)
Jan 06, 2008 rinabeana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is one of my childhood favorites. I've had it for years and it's all battered because I've read the poems so often. Oddly enough, it's the only book of Silverstein's poems that I own, though I'm familiar with many more of his poems. This one will always be my favorite, though. I can recite so many of the poems from memory. If you ever need to be cheered up, I'd recommend this book!
Alyssa Walker
I really like Clarence, kidnapped, and pie probelm. Those three were really funny ( To me ).
Jan 17, 2016 Shelby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 amazing stars!
These poems are really good. I loved everyone of them. I like how every poem had a its own story it and some poems rhyme and has a twist to it.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Alas, there will never be another Shel hoo.
Michael Strode
May 21, 2011 Michael Strode rated it it was amazing
In the pantheon of literature shaping my nascent creative flicker, Shel Silverstein remains a master of lunacy and language. Long after losing my appetite for R.L. Stine's "Fear Street" or the frightful suspense of Alvin Schwartz' "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark", Silverstein's whimsical passages continue to invoke nostalgic and thoughtful reflection. Of "The Giving Tree", my mother echoes the undeviating refrain that it is a woeful fable of an ungrateful child and a loving, long suffering pa ...more
Krista Lineweaver
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein is a book of poetry intended for children ages eight to twelve. It is a book filled with a collection of poetry and drawings by the author. They are humorous and filled with creativity. The illustrations are somewhat creepy and different. Children, I'm sure, will enjoy reading these different collections of poetry as they grow up. Some of the poems rhyme, which will gain the attention of several readers. The poems will make you laugh and give off differen ...more
Leslie Rock
Shel Silverstein has long been one of my favorite authors. His stories and poetry are written with the craft of wit and humor. In some poems he uses the craft of repetition and in others he just writes creatively. A Light in the Attic is just one of his many amazing books of compiled poems.

"If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful, boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
('Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor -
Maybe they won't let you
Dry th
Melissa  I
May 31, 2015 Melissa I rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just one of the treasures you stumble upon while searching through Goodreads. The books you forgot all about even though they were absolute favorites when you were a kid. I didn't like this one quite as much as Where the Sidewalk Ends The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silversteinbut it's still one remembered fondly from years and years and years get the idea, lol, ago.

Loved these so much "Where the Sidewalk Ends" is one I bought my own daughter because I adored it so much and I actually still have my original copy. Wonderful memories....and I have
Daniel Bastian
Feb 07, 2016 Daniel Bastian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I discovered this one in my fiancee's stack after the recent move (it's hers but we pool our books). My 10 year old self might have been left with a stronger impression, but it seems I have come to Silverstein a bit late (20 years?). What's lacking on the poetry side of things is partially made up for by the creepy, Kafkaesque illustrations. Now that I think about it, my pre-teen self would probably have found more than a few them particularly haunting, which counts for something I suppose. With ...more
Sara Alaee
I've never roped a Brahma bull,
I've never fought a duel,
I've never crossed the desert
On a lop-eared, swayback mule,
I've never climbed an idol's nose
To steal a curs d jewel.
I've never gone down with my ship
Into the bubblin' brine,
I've never saved a lion's life
And then had him save mine,
Or screamed Ahoooo while swingin' through
The jungle on a vine.
I've never dealt draw poker
In a rowdy lumber camp,
Or got up at the count of nine
To beat the world's champ,
I've never had my picture on
A six-cent postage
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topics  posts  views  last activity 1 1 Feb 22, 2017 09:21PM  
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Shel Silverstein was the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.
More about Shel Silverstein...

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“Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.”
“When the light turns green, you go. When the light turns red, you stop. But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?” 595 likes
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