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Book Review: Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein

Updated on February 27, 2015

Runny Babbit lent to wunch

And heard the saitress way,

“We have some lovely stabbit rew—I

Our Special for today.”


So if you say, “Let’s bead a rook

That’s billy as can se,”

You’re talkin’ Runny Babbit talk,

Just like mim and he.


Yank Thou

First off, I’d like to thank my friends, fellow Hubbers, and co-conspirators of Children’s Literature right here at Hubpages—wannabwestern and Frieda Babbley—whose relentless dedication and effort on the subject matter has produced some fantastic Children’s Books hubs and in turn, have helped to encourage me and others to continue doing so. I would also like to dedicate this hub to another one of my new friends, SquigglesMcBeeBee, who’s sure to enjoy this hub. Thank you guys! This hub would not have been possible without you...And in case you're wondering what "Yank Thou" is, it's Runny Babbit talk! (It rhymes with "Thank you," by the way!)

This is my second book review on the work of world famous children's author Shel Silverstein. My first book review was on The Giving Tree, so if you haven't already, please read it.

Runny Shearns to Lare

His friends all gave him sicken choup,

Bumgalls and bicorice lends.

And guess what little Runny Babbit

Fave to all his griends!

Runny got the picken chox

And had to bay in sted,

With sped rots on his belly

And sped rots on his head.

Running Into Runny Babbit

At first glance while walking through Border’s Bookstore, Shel Silverstein’s Runny Babbit just looked to me like a beginner’s children’s book. The cover depicted a distinctive black and white cartoon in the Shel Silverstein mode—of Runny Babbit holding what looks to be an umbrella but a closer look reveals a turtle supported by a snake. Just as soon as I picked it up, I quickly realized that this so-called children’s book wasn’t your run-of-the-mill children’s book in which is a paltry fifteen or twenty pages filled with colorful pictures and limited in text; it was indeed much heavier and was practically a hundred pages long! Just as soon as I did, I knew that I was in for a treat, as some of his previous, albeit lengthier works such as A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Falling Up are all collections of poetry and belong in every child’s book collection (or any adult’s book collection for that matter—seriously, why should all the kids have all the fun, huh?) as it will continue to bring joy to people of all ages. So just as soon as I came to this conclusion I picked up a copy and was careful not read it and bought it over to the check-out. I wanted to be pleasantly surprised as to what I would find, as I read just about every book of Shel Silverstein’s and I wasn’t about to miss out on his last book he ever published. Besides, can you name one bad book the guy has ever written? My sentiments exactly.

Runny's Rittle Leminders

Runny doesn't always do

The thoper pring at all.

Just see the motes his namma

Has pasted on his wall:

STOP FAKING MACES...SAY "THEASE" AND "PLANK YOU"...WHON'T DINE...FASH YOUR WACE...QUE BIET...BAKE YOUR MED...REAN UP YOUR CLOOM...TICK UP YOUR POYS...TRUSH YOUR BEETH...SPON'T DIT...HON'T DIT...DON'T BALK TACK...HASH YOUR WANDS...DETTLE SOWN...PEED YOUR FET...FLEEP YOUR SWOOR...TURN YOUR DADIO ROWN...DO YOUR WOMEHORK...NE BICE...DON'T TREAD RASH...DONT' SIGHT WITH YOUR FISTER...DON'T MEW WITH YOUR CHOUTH FULL...DON'T FEAT WITH YOUR INGERS...PHET OFF THE GONE...EAN YOUR CLEARS...NOP THAT STOW...STRIT UP SAIGHT...NOP STAGGING...NAKE YOUR TAP...DON'T FEW YOUR CHINGERNAILS...GOP STIGGLING...DON'T THUCK YOUR SUMB...BON'T DELCH...COVER YOUR SNOUTH WHEN YOU MEEZE...USE YOUR SLAPKIN, NOT YOUR NEEVE...DON'T NICK YOUR POSE...GOP STIGGLING...CHING BACK THE BRANGE...FISTEN TO YOUR LATHER...DON'T BATCH YOUR SCREHIND (AT LEAST POT IN NUBLIC)...DON'T DAM THE SLOOR...DON'T MULP YOUR GILK...FIPE YOUR WEET...KNUB YOUR SCREES...HOP STOLDING YOUR BREATH...SHAKE A TOWER...TEEP YOUR ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE...SCON'T DREAM...TAKE THOSE LOOKS TO THE BIBRARY...

On "Spoonerisms"

Okay, so by now, you either get the gist of the way in which Shel Silverstein wrote this book or you are scratching your head over why Microsoft Spell Check didn’t just send out an assassin to END ME. “Spoonerisms” are, according to Wikepedia: “...Are an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see metathesis). It is named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency.”  As you can see that by rearranging just a few letters, you can decipher which actual words were altered and so see the humor in each and every line of his work.  In the process, the words he creates are nothing short of hilarious, such as "Womehork" (homework) and "Chingernails" (fingernails).  It really isn't that difficult to figure out once you get the hang of it...Heck, with a bit of effort, you just might be able to make a few up too yourself!  Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are was so enamored by Silverstein's book that he was quoted as saying, "I wish I had done this book!"  That makes two of us.

Runny's Rig Bomance

Runny had a firlgriend,

Her name was Sunny Bue.

He called her nots of licknames,

Like "kitchy-Itchy Koo."

Sometimes he called her "Boney-Hun,"

And sometimes "Dovey Lear,"

But he only called her "Peety-Swie"

When no one else could hear.

Shel Silverstein's Silly Rook

Author Shel Silverstein’s Runny Babbit, in which is the only book he publish posthumously, is a compilation of 41 poems and wonderful pictures of the silly and zany character of the same name whose compassion for others (Runny’s Hind Keart), mischievous acts (Runny on Rount Mushmore), and affection for a significant other (Runny’s Rig Bomance) are all showcased. Readers will follow Runny Babbit along with his friends Toe Jurtle, Skertie Gunk, Rirty Dat, Dungry Hog, Snerry Jake and a host of others. The book is simply a treat to read and it’s my belief that Silverstein’s book was meant to be read out loud to others, as it’s sure to cause a ruckus of laughter. I’ve already bought this book three times as gifts and plan to buy it a few more times in the near future, as Runny Babbit is the perfect gift to give others that could use a good laugh or two. It’s my opinion that all of us should file Runnny Babbit under the caption “New Classic” as it is sure to become a treasured keepsake for many years to come.

Please don't miss out on my Ezine Articles on Harry Potter and Lafcadio: The Lion That Shot Back.

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    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great review Dohn. I've always been a big fan of Shel and of spoonerisms. Have you ever heard the story of Bleeping Snooty?

      It's the one where she slopped her dripper.

      Cheers!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hello, Green Lotus. Thanks for the comment. I haven't heard of Bleeping Snooty, but I'll look into it now that you've mentioned it. It sounds interesting enough :D

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 7 years ago from East Coast

      Great hub, Dohn! I'm unfamiliar with this particular book of Shel's - I'llhave to add it to my list, it sounds fun!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hi, Lily! That's one of the main reasons why I wrote this hub and wanted to be the first to do so. I really hope that you do go ahead and purchase this book, as it's one of the better ones available. Thanks!

    • profile image

      keira7 7 years ago

      I am a fan and I will definitely read all your work. Not only you are a very good writer but you are also a very good person. I really wish you the best. Take care. See you soon.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Loved it. Now I've got to "tick up my poys"--clean up the kitchen!

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 7 years ago from uk

      fantastic hub! was reading some of your other reviews as well...truly impressed!

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 7 years ago

      Dohn, nice hub! I read Frieda's 'How to eat fried worms' hub, but didn't comment because I was in class. I should go and do this now. Shel Silverstein is a good way to introduce children to poetry and short stories. Very well done Dohn--and thanks for the links.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      kiera7--Hi. Thank you for the comment. I'm just happy that I was able to be the first person at Hubpages to write this hub. I appreciate your readership and look forward hearing from you.

      Paradise7--I really like the cleverness of this book too and especially like all the words and phrases out there that have not yet been created! Thanks.

      myownworld--Thank you so much for the comment! I take great pleasure in hearing from you.

      AIDY--Yes, I read that one too. She and wannabwestern have taught me a few things about writing children's book hubs and I want to repay the favor. I can't imagine my childhood without the works of Shel Silverstein. He has certainly influenced me to a world of creativity, not to mention silliness! Thank you.

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      One of our Hubbers, ralwus, who I'm sure you know, did a series on Tolden Goad and his adventures in similar vein. He was then publishing under the nom-de-plume of cc riter. He wiped most of it a few months ago, but I see has republished under his present moniker.

      "Tolden Goad ...." - Well worth a read.

      Cheers.

      Peter.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas

      You know me Dohn, when it comes to trivia....did you know that Shel Silverstein wrote "A Boy Named Sue", made popular by Johnny Cash? :) It's one of those tidbits I pick up on the radio. My daughter is a huge Shel fan. She owns several of his books.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      The Old Firm--Yes, I'm familiar with both C.C. Riter and ralwus but not Tolden Goad. I will definitely have a look. Thank you Peter.

      KCC Big Country--No, I wasn't aware of that! I'll certainly look into it now that you made mention of it. Thanks for visiting me, KCC Big Country. I appreciate it.

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      dohn121. Check ralwus's hubs, there's about 5 there, all starting "Tolden Goad" (Originally inspired by some of Charlie's Hubber mates)

      Cheers.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hi, The Old Firm. I went and read "Tolden Goad" and liked it. Thank you for pointing that one out for me, I appreciate it.

    • Catherine R profile image

      Catherine R 7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I didn't know this book - but now I do! Thanks so much for this great review.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hey, Catherine. You're welcome. Thank you for the compliment!

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

      Thank You Dohn. First time I have heard of the books or the author but what I read was fun. I had a friend who was very prone to 'spoonerism' type errors (sadly he died young). My colleagues and I religiously recorded every one he made. That would have made a book in itself. To the point. Your hub brought back memories of him. Thanks again.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hello, Peter. You're welcome, Peter and thank you for commenting. Shel Silverstein is one of my favorites of all time. With a bit of effort, I just might be able to come up with a few spoonerisms myself. I'm sorry to hear about your friend--I wonder if you might still be able to get his work published posthumously?

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you for the nice comment :D

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      Again, you have manage to point me in a direction I haven't been before. Thank you.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Dohn121, when my daughter was home from college over the summer I asked if could pack up the kids books from her room that she didn't want anymore. (for my granddaughters==>her nieces) Well she packed up 6 and a half big boxes full but left the whole collection of Shel Silverstein and Dr Seuss prominently displayed on her bookshelves. She commented that we'll have to buy them (the girls) their own copies as hers are just toooooo worn out looking.

      Those had always been her favorites.

      My fave were'Runny Babbit' and 'Where the sidewalk ends'

      Absolutely fantastic hub... once again.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      interesting spoonerisms. first time to hear of it. it's a fun read, i believe. did the children find it easy to understand the book?

    • Philipo profile image

      Philipo 7 years ago from Nigeria

      Very well reviewed book. Thanks for sharing.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Duchess OBlunt--Thank you for that Duchess. That is one of my intentions, you could say. There are just so many great books out there to be discovered.

      Zsuzsy Bee--I can understand what your daughter was going through when she was moving. Coming from a poor family, I really didn't have many children's books growing up (well, they were all "stored" at the library) but once I began working and then going to college, I began to accumulate quite a collection of new and used books which seems to grow every week. There are books that I own that I wouldn't give up for all the tea in China. Thank you for the comment! I really do appreciate it.

      bingskee--Good question, bingskee. The younger kids (like my neice and nephew who are 5 and 6) don't see how it's cleverly hilarious, but can of course see that it is indeed silly hilarious--I hope that makes sense! Thank you for reading me as always.

      Philipo--Thanks for the comment, Philipo. It's always great to hear from you.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 7 years ago

      fantastic hub lot of useful info

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you, Lgali. I've found just how fun reading can be when I was first introduced to Shel Silverstein.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 7 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      LOL LOL...this new and fun for me dohn121,yank thou for sharing!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hahaha! Thanks Waren E. I really like you good nature and hearty spirit. It's always a pleasure to hear from you.

    • profile image

      cosette 7 years ago

      oh my god - most epic hub EVER! you have outdone yourself once again, Dohn. smashing!!!!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Ha! Thanks, cosette. I was hoping that you would like this hub ;) I really did enjoy this book and hope that many more people will read it/buy it with or without my help. Thanks :D

    • profile image

      SquigglesMcBeeBee 7 years ago

      'k, dis is da best hubs i haz read on here so far. of course i haz only read about two of dems ;)

      dank you for tedicating it to me. grou are so yoovy...

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      THERE YOU ARE!!! I was wondering when you were gonna hop on over! Thank you so much for coming over! I'm hoping (hopping?) that it was as easy as a piece of carrot cake if ya get my drift! Now I just hope that you don't scream out, 'I'm late! I'm late!' and disappear down a hole! :D I gather this will give you a bit of a "spring in your step" as it were, :D

      Thanks, SquigglesMcBeeBee!!!

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 7 years ago from Fabulous USA

      This is a new one for me, never heard of this book, however, your review is thorough and wonderful. Now I am very interested!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks, Ladybird33. I really hope that you find the time to read it as I'm sure that you'll enjoy it if you enjoyed reading about it here.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      Never cared that much for much of Shel's work-- but this one may "met ge"-- reminds me a little of the "Pee Little Thrigs".

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I think I read that a long time ago, Rochelle. In either case, I'll look into it. Thanks for reading me. I hope that you get the chance to read this book!

    • magdielqr profile image

      magdielqr 7 years ago

      Thank you for this informative Hub.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks, HealthTip for reading me and supporting me. I appreciate your comment as it means so much to me to hear. As you can see, there is a lot of things in this world that does concern me and believe wholeheartedly that certain issues should be addressed. Meeting great people such as yourself while doing so is an added incentive! Thank you as always, buddy. You're always welcome.

    • Drew Breezzy profile image

      Drew Breezzy 7 years ago from somewhere in my mind

      I love Shel! yhankstou I didn't know what a spoonerisms was!

      Was that one? Also what is the purpose?

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      The purpose = laughs

      Plain and simple, Drew. Also, the words that are created are pretty darn cool too! Thanks for visiting!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      gery vood! A great review for a great book, Dohn! Thanks!

      As someone up there said, CC had a great series in the spoonerism style going. I'm glad to see he's bringing them back!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hey, thanks Shalini. It's great to see you. I've always been a fan of Shel Silverstein, as The Giving Tree is the first book that I ever borrowed from the public library. Maybe one day I write a book on spoonerisms of my own. I think that it would be fun if anything else. Thank you for reading me!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Yes Dohn - you should - you'll do a fabulous job, I'm sure!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you for the vote of confidence, Shalini! I'll give it a go as soon as I finish my other projects.

    • jacobkuttyta profile image

      jacobkuttyta 7 years ago from Delhi, India

      Thanks for the review.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You're welcome, jacobkuttyta and thank you for reading me.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

      Dohn -- You provide a great read, almost as much as Shel! I love his books and my Missing Piece is a little tattered and torn. But The Giving Tree is ensuring that there will be copies to replace it. Yank thou thor yaring shore woview thor siss bonderful wook!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Wour Yelcome, Beth100! Gosh, I really could go on with this. I'll tell you one thing, if and when I do have kids, they'll certainly have a nice library to use! The Missing Piece is another really good one, but The Giving Tree is a mush have in my eyes. Thanks, Beth100. I really do appreciate your coming by and reading.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Love this book. It's the only one of Shel's I don't own. I've even got the ABZ's book (and yes, shame on me, I've read that one to the kids). Well done, as usual dohn. Thanks for sharing this awesome book with everyone.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Yes! Shame on you, Frieda for not owning this book! I was appalled by how much this book costs retail--$17.95 at Borders--as opposed to Amazon for $7 and change. I can't believe that it's already been 10 years after Shel's passing, but his books will live on. Thanks for the comment, Frieda. I really do appreciate it.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Amazon is definitely the way to go on books when you know what you're looking for and even if you don't. I love the sneak peak feature that lets you look inside some of them too. And I know, I know. Shame on me, lol. I think anyone would be hard pressed to find a writer that does anything near what Shel does. Thanks again. And you're most welcome.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      If I could, Frieda, I'd also like to recommend Abebooks.com as it is a great place to get used books for only a few bucks. I look to it as an online used book/garage sale store with HUGE selection of every book under the sun. Please be sure to check it out sometime. Yes, Shel is definitely a master in his own right!

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      a must read thanks!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks, Rebecca. I hope you get the chance to read it!

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors

      Wow! That was so much fun. In your review you made the comment about the Microsoft Spell Check Assassination Squad--well I don't think any of your fans would be willing to see you go. I can't believe you've only been here at HP for 4 months. You have an amazing collection of writing. Thanks for the link too. :)

      My favorite book by Shel is The Missing Piece. I gave it to my husband when I broke up with him during our courtship. He was really confused by that. Such a great hub. Off to Digg and Stumble.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you again, wannabwestern. I appreciate everything you do and appreciate the part about my fans. I do my best in putting together my hubs and hearing/reading comments makes it all the worthwhile. I love doing this too much and no one is as surprise by my fluke success than your's truly.

      I think I can understand what your husband was going through by the way :) Talk to you soon!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      You do great work with your book reviews Dohn! I love Shel's work and enjoyed this one! Thumbs up!

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you so much Michelle! To me, he is by far one of the most influential authors. His messages speak volumes about the human condition and in my ripe old age, I still appreciate his work now (perhaps more so) as when I was a child.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

      good review thanks

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You're welcom, TFT. I appreciate it.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      Good review Dohn, Have heard of Silverstein, but never read one of his books for children, it is kind of spoonerism, right? Now I know, actually I googled him already and it will be interesting to read his works, (even though I am an adult now LOL), thanks again Maita

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I suggest you read his books ASAP, Maita. They're just too fun to pass up, no matter how old you are. I'm sure you'll enjoy them as soon as you do. Thanks for reading this!

    • bat115 profile image

      Tim 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Good review here. This is the only book of Shel Silversteins I haven't read.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks, bat115. I sure do hope you get the chance to read it. Just like all of his other books, it's just as clever as it's funny.

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 7 years ago

      i have fallen in love with this rabbit....... this was such a feel good hub...... you did a great job. I am converted anyway...... well done.

    • dohn121 profile image
      Author

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks so much for that Brenda :) I really wanted to write this hub for a friend and it turned out pretty well. I had a lot of fun writing it. What happened to your avatar? Just curious.

    • profile image

      LapineAmante aka bunnylover a francais 6 years ago

      Thank you so very much for your awesome site, Dohn!!!! These are my son's favourite book and I love them, too. He bought me Runny Babbit because I love them so much.

    • profile image

      RunnyBabbit1234 6 years ago

      So Dohn made this site??? But still alsome book... me and my friends LOVED it!!! We fell to the floor when we heard Do whid it!!

    • Ed Michaels profile image

      Ed Michaels 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      I made a mistake six years ago. I gave all my old Shel books to my niece because she loved them so much. Now I have a five year old son and I miss them terribly. We have The Giving Tree again, but I still have a whole bunch of re-buying to do, and now I have a new book to add to the list. Shel is always worth it though. As a parent, I am fond of all children's books that were not written with a club of sap.

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