SOURCE: HarperCollins Children's Books; Water Records

May 07, 2008 07:30 ET

Celebrate the Genius of Shel Silverstein This Month

HarperCollins Children's Books and Water Records Re-Issue Master Works of Renaissance Artist Shel Silverstein

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - May 7, 2008) - Shel Silverstein was a prolific illustrator, songwriter, playwright, poet, and author. Perhaps best known for his classic children's books, Silverstein was also a Grammy-winning artist (Best Children's Album) and Oscar-nominated composer. He penned such classic songs as "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and "A Boy Named Sue," immortalized by Johnny Cash. Throughout his amazing career, Silverstein was also an important contributor to Playboy magazine.

Silverstein died in 1999, but his life and work remains a cornerstone of popular culture -- and as relevant as ever. This spring sees the return of some of Shel's forgotten works, which have been re-issued for audiences both new and old to discover and cherish.

Celebrate by going to, with new animations, interactive games, eCards and reproducible activities for teachers, parents, and Silverstein fans of all ages. There's also a gallery exhibition at apexart in New York City, where Shel's comic illustrations will be shown alongside works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, R. Crumb, Raymond Pettibon and many others, through May 10, 2008.

Mitch Myers, writer, curator of the Silverstein estate and director of the Silverstein Archive in Chicago is available for interviews. Mitch is a highly regarded music writer who authored "The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling" (Harper; Trade Paperback: $14.95) -- a freewheeling collection of music-oriented parables, serious artist profiles, and offbeat essays that range in subject from Black Sabbath saving the world from alien infiltration to Albert Ayler seeing ghosts and an update on the legend of John Henry. Entertainment Weekly called it "a treasure trove of a book -- funny, moving, and informative."

Shel Silverstein -- "Don't Bump the Glump! And Other Fantasies."

Remembered by longtime Silverstein fans as "Uncle Shelby's Zoo, Don't Bump the Glump!," Shel's first ever poetry collection, has been highly sought after as a collector's item since its publication debut in 1964. "Don't Bump the Glump!" is a menagerie of silly and scary creatures illustrated by the author in stunning ink and watercolor washes -- the only children's book he created in full color. Step inside this most unusual bestiary and meet a number of outrageous characters, including the Wild Gazite, the Flying Festoon, the Slithergadee, and the One-Legged Zantz. This richly rendered collection of 45 poems is available now from HarperCollins Children's Books.

Shel Silverstein -- "Playboy's Silverstein Around the World"

"Playboy's Silverstein Around the World" is a collection of 23 illustrated comic travelogues culled from the pages of Playboy (1957 - 1968), covering Silverstein's adventures in Scandinavia, London (checking out the pub scene), Paris, Moscow, Italy, Switzerland (mountain climbing), Spain (where he was gored in a bull fight), Africa (big game hunts), Mexico and others. Silverstein sweetly lampooned the stereotype of the American tourist while traveling abroad. Later on, Shel chose to stay closer to home, and his work began to reflect the swinging '60s in the U.S. with visits to Fire Island, Hollywood, a nudist colony and San Francisco's hippie free love culture. With a foreword by Hugh Hefner and an introduction by Mitch Myers, "Playboy's Silverstein Around the World" captures the mid-twentieth century worldview of an American voyager, displaying the beloved author's wit, ribald humor, and brilliantly evocative illustrations. Now available on Simon & Schuster's Touchstone/Fireside imprint.

Shel Silverstein & The Red Onions -- "Hairy Jazz" (CD)

Originally released in 1959, "Hairy Jazz" was Silverstein's very first LP and consisted primarily of standards and classic tunes, plus two original songs. A longtime fan of blues, ragtime, and New Orleans jazz, Shel sings, screams, and hollers over the raucous accompaniment of the Red Onion Jazz Band. With production by Elektra Records' own Jac Holzman, iconic liner notes from immortal storyteller Jean Shepherd, and rare Silverstein artwork, "Hairy Jazz" is available now on Water Records.

Shel Silverstein -- "Inside Folk Songs" (CD)

Silverstein's follow up to "Hairy Jazz." First released in 1962, the collection of entirely original material featured faux-beatnik ditties about espresso, sunglasses and folksingers -- all full of wry humor and Silverstein's charming-but-gruff vocals. Always at the forefront of satirical social commentary, "Inside Folk Songs" is a hilarious look at the early '60s folk revival, poking fun at everyone from the square, sweatered collegiate set to the over-the-top hipster and the sit-in and sing-along crowd. The album includes original versions of "25 Minutes To Go" (made famous by Johnny Cash) and "The Unicorn" (a multi-million selling single for the Irish Rovers), and is available now via Water Records.

Shel Silverstein -- "A Boy Named Sue and His Other Country Songs" (CD)

"A Boy Named Sue" was Silverstein's sixth album and his first and only for RCA, originally released in 1969. The album features the classic title track, which would become a massive hit for Johnny Cash. Reinventing his style once again, Silverstein channels country radio in songs that are at turns sentimental, tongue-in-cheek, genuinely heartfelt and slyly lewd. Recorded at RCA studios in Music City, USA, and produced by Shel's friend, the legendary Chet Atkins, this could very well have been the strangest thing to come out of Nashville by a Jewish guy since Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde." Available now -- and for the first time on CD -- on Water Records.

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