Different Dances by Shel Silverstein – A Review

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Different Dances by Shel Silverstein
Humor | Poetry | Social Commentary
Published by HarperCollins
Released 1979
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Aside from J.R.R. Tolkien, one of the first authors that come to mind when I think about my childhood is Shel Silverstein. My brother and I had a couple of his children’s poetry books, and I consumed them. To this day I still love them, and I will definitely be sharing his children’s books with my future children.

Different Dances is not a children’s book.

When I requested this book from the library, I did so simply because it was a Shel Silverstein book I hadn’t heard of before. I requested two of my favorite books of his, Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up at the same time because I’m working on a childhood favorites post.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the book to a random page and saw genitalia and a man hanging himself with his own penis. Again, this is most definitely not a children’s book.

Once I got over my initial shock, I was actually pretty excited. I’ve always wanted to read Shel Silverstein’s adult writings but had never found them. Fun fact before we get into the review: Shel Silverstein is the writer of the famous Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue.

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Different Dances has all of the qualities you’d expect from a Shel Silverstein book, including his drawings (see picture above), poetry, and wit. It’s an incredibly easy book to read – I finished it in roughly twenty minutes, as it’s mostly art rather than words.

There’s actually quite a bit of social commentary in this book, which isn’t surprising. This is a book that you need to read to appreciate, so here are a few of the topics Silverstein writes and draws about in Different Dances:

  • aging
  • self-expression
  • relationships (bad and good)
  • unfulfilled dreams
  • possession
  • censorship
  • body image
  • religion
  • suicide

There’s so much more, but those were just some of the most important topics to me. I really appreciated Different Dances, and there are very few people who I would not recommend it to (except children). Go ahead and pick it up – you won’t regret it.


What is your favorite Shel Silverstein book? Let me know in the comments!




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Absolutely bookish.

2 thoughts on “Different Dances by Shel Silverstein – A Review

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