Sean’s Letter Essay #3: Everything On It



Dear Class,

Recently, I finished reading Everything On It, a 194 page  poetry book written by Shel Silverstein. Silverstein has written several poetry books with his own illustrations.

The book was Published just 4 years ago, in 2011 which interestingly means that it was published after Silverstein’s death, which was in 1999. The book was finished before 1999 but never published until late September of 2011. This book has been popular ever since it was published,like most of Silverstein’s books. This book was a collection of short poems, some comical,some sad, and some that left me thinking,”Well, that didn’t make very much sense at all.”

The first poem is a rhyme about how a person ordered a hotdog with “Everything On It”. It turned out that it was a mistake and it was served with all sorts of things on it. Overall I enjoyed reading the poems.


I chose to read this book because I wanted to read poetry and have enjoyed reading Shel Silverstein books in the past. Also I knew it would be a quick and enjoyable read.


In the book Everything On It, Shel Silverstein shows cleverness, humor, and rhyme which are all brought together by the wonderful cartoon  illustrations that really bring out the meaning of all of the poems. There is no true storyline or plot to this book. The structure of the book  is basically just a collection of clever poems arranged in a way that makes you want to read  more. The first day I started reading this book,  Although the pages don’t have nearly as much text as a regular novel,I read about 80 pages in 20 minutes. The poems had a strange effect on me and I just kept reading and reading. Nothing very exciting happened, as the book has no plot, but for some reason I couldn’t put it down. Each of Silverstein’s poems are different. There are some about animals,some about food,some about music,some about children, some about fantasy creatures. Some are long.Some are short. For example,the poem on page 150 is an example of  a shorter poem.”NEW JOB: Just two hours workin’ in the candy store and I don’t like candy anymore.”

A longer one is found on page 158 “ NASTY SCHOOL:Oh have heard of nasty school?

They teach  nasty things and they have nasty rules.

They only take nasties and rowdies and fools,

So come, let’s take a walk through nasty school.

You get to nasty school through a secret gate.

The first rule is you must be late.

Your hands and face must all be caked with dirt.

There must be lots of grease and gravy spots upon your shirt.

In class, instead of listening,you just talk,

And make those awful squeaks upon the blackboard with your chalk.

You must make sure your shoes are wet and muddy.,

And as for your homework, you must guarantee you haven’t studied.

You must put gum on everyone’s seat,

And when there is a test you must promise that you’ll cheat.

Instead of teachers teaching you to make things,

The bad schoolteachers teach you how to break things:

They teach how to smash a windowpane

And how to let a brand new bike get rusty in the rain,

How to smash a vase to smithereens,

How to tear the pages out of someone’s magazine,

How to hold your breath and spit and scream,

How to put mustard into someone’s chocolate chip ice cream,

How to bang a fender full of dents,

How to leave your footprint in a square of wet cement,

How to pinch and punch and slam a door,

How to splash water till you flood the bathroom floor,

How to do some muddy belly flops,

How to ruin your teeth with sugar pops,

How to turn a dress into a rag,

How to tear the bottom of a garbage bag,

How to bend your father’s fishing hook,

How to drip hot meatloaf gravy on your science book,

How to fill a bathtub up with glue,

How to bounce upon a bed until the springs pop through,

How to fall out of an apple tree,

How to scratch your toe and miss the toilet when you pee,

How to spread a coat of honey on a volleyball,

How to write your name in toothpaste on the bathroom wall,

How to snap a shoelace when you tie it-

These are all things you’ll learn

In nasty school- wanna try it?

For some schools you can’t just be good

To have to be the best.

Here you can’t be rotten-

You must be rottenest.”

As you can clearly  tell Shel Silverstein drastically varied his word choice,sentence structure, and topic in his poems. I think this is one thing that makes his books so good. I would rate this book an 8 out of 10.I enjoyed it and it was clever poetry book that was structured well.


Sean Eustace

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2 thoughts on “Sean’s Letter Essay #3: Everything On It

  1. This poetry book sounds great, I have never really read any of Shel’s books but I have heard so many good things about it. I like the way you described to the book.

  2. Sean,
    I’m glad you enjoyed the pleasing experience of enjoying the reading of a poetry book, just for the sheer fun of it.

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