Playboy’s Silverstein Around The World, Ne St. Nick & Silverstein’s Zoo

23 Sep

Playboy’s Silverstein Around The World by Shel Silverstein

According to the book, Playboy’s Silverstein Around The World, Shel Silverstein made his debut in Playboy in August of 1956. Because Shel Silverstein wanted to visit Japan again (he was stationed there when he was in the army), Hugh Hefner, the man who ran Playboy, suggested that Shel should draw some cartoons while he was there, and send them to Playboy. He did, and the rest is history. After he revisited Japan in May 1957, Shel Silverstein traveled to Scandinavia, London, Paris, Moscow, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Africa, and other places for Playboy.  Hugh Hefner wanted Shel Silverstein to include himself in his cartoons, but Shel didn’t feel comfortable doing that.  He took Hefner’s advice and tried it. This led to Shel Silverstein including himself in all his cartoons for Playboy.  Shel Silverstein drew his cartoons in pen and ink, but when they were printed in Playboy, they were in color. This did not make Shel Silverstein happy, but it helped Playboy become successful.

In Shel Silverstein’s cartoon “New St. Nick,” St. Nick is Santa Claus. In the beginning, Mrs. Claus tells him to shave his beard. He does this, but then his doctor tells him to lose weight. Basically, many people tell him to change something about himself.  He always takes their advice. Pretty soon, he is not Santa Claus anymore. In the end, he becomes “Old St. Nick” again, after children tell him to bring them presents. The readers see him in his beard and suit in the end. In other words, he looks almost the same as he did in the beginning.

Uncle Shelby’s Zoo by Shel Silverstein

In Uncle Shelby’s Zoo, Shel Silverstein writes poems about made up animals.  The irony in “The Friendly Old Sleepy Eyed Skurk” is that the Skurk is not friendly: he’ll let you inside his mouth, but he won’t let you out. In other words, he’ll eat you.  In “A Family Affair,” the three characters eat their family members. The Bulbulous Brole eats his mate, the White-Breasted Murd eats her children, and the Gross -Bottomed Grood eats his parents. In the end of the poem, though, the Bulbulous Brole marries the White-Breasted Murd, and they produce a Gross-Bottomed Grood. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, because all three characters would be dead because they would eat each other.


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