"When I was small, I would often isolate myself in the world of grotesque fairy tales, imagining death, destruction or triumph visited by mythological figure or divine fiat, which created a never-flagging interest in the connection between the real and surreal worlds. Shel Silverstein’s ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’, along with Bill Peet’s ‘No Such Things’, Michael Ende’s ‘The Never Ending Story’ and Brian Froud’s ‘Fairies’ were some of the first that I ever read that had clear visions of this slightly altered world – one that was weird, grotesque, moralistic, yet strangely benign. The best of these are celebratory of what it means to be human, with all of the associated foibles and failings. Childhood, especially early childhood, is a time of physical and cognitive limitations and emotional extremes – total fear, total joy, total hate, and total love. Silverstein in particular imparts messages that are funny, joyful, frightening, hopeful, creating a sense of wonder and humor, and ultimately order, about the terrors of every day life. Like Aesop, Silverstein’s poems and stories are timeless allegory; as useful when we are seven as when we are eighty-seven. Small wonder that Johnny Cash loved him so much."