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Another children's book from our personal collection is this hard back copy with dust jacket of THE MISSING PIECE, a children's book written and illustrated by Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein (September 25, 1930 – May 9, 1999), an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in his children's books.
Silverstein's 1976 picture book, The Missing Piece, like The Giving Tree, was subject to varying interpretations. "It was missing a piece. And it was not happy." So begins this fable of quest and fulfillment with its sparse line illustrations to supplement the text. Singing nonsense rhymes it travels far and wide searching for its missing piece. Sadly, when it finds its missing piece and can roll very fast it discovers that life at a fast pace does not have time for pleasurable things like talking with friends, entertaining a butterfly, and singing a happy song. In fact, when it was complete it could not sing at all, so it set the piece down gently and slowly rolled away .
As Anne Roiphe explained in The New York Times Book Review (2 May 1976), The Missing Piece can be read in the same way as "the fellow at the singles bar explaining why life is better if you don't commit yourself to anyone for too long - the line goes that too much togetherness turns people into bores - that creativity is preserved by freedom to explore from one relationship to another... This fable can also be interpreted to mean that no one should try to find all the answers, no one should hope to fill all the hopes in themselves, achieve total transcendental harmony or psychic order because a person without a search, loose ends, internal conflicts and external goals becomes to smooth to enjoy or know what's going on. Too much satisfaction blocks exchange with the outside."
Whatever your interpretation of this modern fable, it is a wonderful story. It measures 7 1/4" wide X 8 3/4" high. There are 100 illustrated pages. The book is in very good condition - square with tight, clean pages. The dust jacket is also in beautiful condition with a very tiny tear at the bottom spine and some typical surface wear. The book was first published by HARPER & ROW PUBLISHERS, in 1976, but this is a later edition which was published in the early 1980s.
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