Poem from the book Uncle Shelby's Story of Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back
Shel Silverstein was born in Chicago in 1930, and during his lifetime he became known for his many talents. When he was twenty years old he joined the American army, and worked as a cartoonist for the Stars and Stripes magazine. Once his time in the army was complete he began to work as a cartoonist for several other magazines, including Playboy. It was the work that he did here that began to gain the nation's attention and he worked there from 1957 through the mid-1970s. During his time with Playboy, Silverstein began to explore other means of creativity, such as music and writing. While he was with playboy he began to write books and poems for them. In 1959 he released his first album Hairy Jazz, and would continue in his career to work with many other great talents including Johnny Cash. In 1963 he met a book editor Ursula Nordstrom, and she convinced him to begin writing for children. So, on short notice, he wrote his first children's book, Uncle Shelby's Story of Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back. His most popular book is The Giving Tree, although it was rejected by most publishers at first. The book gave a very realistic viewpoint of the world, and people felt that it would be best suited for those that are somewhere between adults and children. Shel Silverstein passed away due to a massive heart attack in 1999.