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Seriously silly

USPS celebrates Shel Silverstein stamp

The Shel Silverstein stamp features a playful illustration from “The Giving Tree.”

The Postal Service dedicated a stamp honoring children’s book author Shel Silverstein during a ceremony in Chicago on April 8.

The event was held at Darwin Elementary, one of the schools Silverstein (1930-1999) attended as a child.

“He could be silly or serious — and anything in between. With his witty rhymes and whimsical, nonsensical verse, it was clear that he loved to play with language. It was also clear that his many readers — young and old alike — loved him for his clever wordplay,” said Judy de Torok, the Postal Service’s corporate affairs vice president and one of the ceremony’s speakers.

Silverstein’s books sold more than 20 million copies in 47 languages.

The Forever stamp features artwork from one of his most beloved children’s books, “The Giving Tree,” which tells the story of the enduring friendship between a motherly tree and a boy.

Silverstein also wrote and illustrated several other books, including “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (1974), “A Light in the Attic” (1981), “Falling Up” (1996) and “Every Thing on It” (2011).

Full of fantastical imagery and poetry, his books — which often dealt with the joys and fears of childhood — remain popular with children all over the world.

Dmitry Samarov, an author and artist who spoke at the ceremony, recalled discovering the books after he and his family moved from the Soviet Union to the United States when he was 7.

“I was predisposed to appreciate Silverstein’s type of poetry because in the Soviet Union, many of the best writers found their only means of expression through children’s literature,” Samarov said.

Silverstein also wrote and illustrated books for adult readers, recorded his own songs, composed songs for other artists and wrote plays performed off-Broadway in New York City.

The Shel Silverstein stamp is available in panes of 20 at Post Offices and