Lordy, lordy, look who's 40! It's Shel Silverstein's A Giraffe and a Half. This cumulative tale starts out with a giraffe stretching, and thus the title, with an added, hilarious complication on each page. Silverstein's line drawings and poems are always simple, but so rich that they never lose their appeal. This latest edition contains a giraffe tape measure for recording your little reader's changing stature. Put this book between other Silverstein classics (such as The Giving Tree) and Dr. Seuss books, and you'll be set with a tall order of classic children's rhymes and humor.

Happy birthday to these literary gems, just as fresh and wonderful today as they were when first published. The only difference is that now they are already well known and loved all around the world. It's safe to say that 50 and 60 years from now, new generations of readers will be clamoring for 100th anniversary editions of these classics. Alice Cary writes from Groton, Massachusetts.

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