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A Light in the Attic

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  396,075 ratings  ·  3,083 reviews
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?...
This 20th anniversary of Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic includes a CD of highlights from his
Hardcover, 20th Anniversary Edition with CD, 176 pages
Published October 7th 2002 by Harpercollins Childrens Books (first published October 7th 1981)
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Julio Bonilla I was in the 5th grade the first time I saw one of these books. Yesterday I bought this one at an Estate Sale in my neighborhood. I might use this as …moreI was in the 5th grade the first time I saw one of these books. Yesterday I bought this one at an Estate Sale in my neighborhood. I might use this as inspiration to finish writing my next book.(less)
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)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  396,075 ratings  ·  3,083 reviews

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Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Emily May
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, poetry
“Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.”
Whitney Atkinson
I got some Shel Silverstein books from the library to feed my nostalgia, and it was an interesting reread. They're as funny and easy and light as I remember, but I'm shocked by how much I didn't remember. Maybe I just skimmed it for the pictures as a kid, but still, these were entertaining to read out loud to my cats. ...more
Apr 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
“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 04, 2015 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!
Elyse  Walters
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! When I saw my Goodreads friend 'post' she read this book, I smiled BIG time!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...more
N.N. Light
Why I love it: Really? This is a banned book? Somewhere, Mr. Silverstein is shaking his head sadly. It’s a hilarious book of illustrations and poems. Silly poems. Its message is clear: use your imagination, laugh often and your life will be good. It promotes kindness, goodness and understanding. There’s nothing wrong with that.

My Rating: 5 stars
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was introduced to the works of Shel Silverstein when my fourth grade teacher read Where the Sidewalk Ends to my class. Sadly, the author passed away not long after I discovered his poetry; still, he lives on thanks to his timeless works. This book has some crazy poems; between the zany words and hilarious illustrations, kids and even some adults are sure to laugh. Occasionally, the poems were crude, but only in a "PG" way. While I was disappointed when I found out about Mr. Silverstein's lifes ...more
Oct 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Ammara Abid
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Strode
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
Amber J
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children
This was one of my favorite books as a child, and I loved being able to read it again. Even more so I got to read it to my 7 year old daughter and some to my 10 year old nephew. They both loved it. They laughed at most of them and my daughter commented about it being sad when it was a sad poem. I got two more of his books from the library and I'm very excited to read them for both myself and my daughter. ...more
Aug 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kennedyf froehlich
Usually I don't like poetry books that much. I find them kind of boring. This book though was really good. I love Shel Silverstein's books and I plan on reading some of the others. This book is would be good for 3rd-6th graders. I like this book a lot better than any other poetry books I've read before. This book has a lot of interesting poems in it like Adventures of a Frisbee and It's all the same to the Clam. ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A load of fun to read these poems. I can see how they might be considered a little subversive by some and can see how they banned this book for a little while somewhere! I'd buy this for all my little relations no problem. ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giggles, poetry
Alas, there will never be another Shel hoo.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
read in 2000 - random pick up at book fair - better review to come

3 stars
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jillian Haro
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
These poems are so much fun! They talk about life in a very humorous way. And some of the poems are actually very profound, but simple to read. I loved it.
Dee's Reading Zone
Silverstein's "A Light in the Attic" was a very witty and fun good read! The late author's word play and drawings will always be memorable to kids and adults alike!

Check out a few of his poems below:

"There's a light on in the attic.
Though the house is dark and shuttered,
I can see a flickerin' flutter,
And I know what it's about."

"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 wor
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this when I was a kid, and again recently with my 7 year old. She LOVED it and said she wanted me to read more of his books to her. It was crazy how many of these poems I remembered from when I was a kid.
Amber Adams
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sam Kuntz
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book with everyone else in the family besides my older sister and my dad. I always like the Shel Sliverstine books that we get from the library but they are all a little disturbing.
That said I have many favorite poems like What Did? and Messy Room (I can relate.) I like all the poems (even if some of them are disturbing.) There are many ways to read this book ad the main to it is 50 poems at a time. All the poems mean something different to me. All that to say I hope you read this bo
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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.

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