13 February 2007
Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book
Author/Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
Imagine if Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace sat in a poorly-lit basement everynight with a tall glass of absinthe, pouring his frustrations over Dennis's shenanigans onto the page. Imagine that Mr. Wilson's inner demons took control, pushed him over the edge of sanity, and he became obsessed with devising elaborate schemes to extract revenge and ultimately destroy his prepubescent archnemesis. That's the kind of book this is. It's the kind of book that Mr. Wilson would never show to anyone else (not even his foxy wife, Martha). In fact, he would probably rip it up the next morning and beg his God for forgiveness.
Shel Silverstein, on the other hand, is the kind of person that is just crazy enough to not only show it, but to get it published. Luckily, people consider it to be "subversive" and "irreverent", instead of "dangerous" or "a sign that we must lock this man up for the rest of his natural life". Thus he was allowed to remain in society to write great children's books and the occassional hit song for Johnny Cash.
Note: My copy of the book (unlike the one pictured above) does not have the gold seal that says "A Primer for Adults Only". Mine must have been published before all those impressionable children were tragically eaten by hippos.