Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

The Unicorn, A Singable Poem by Shel Silverstein

Posted on: March 26, 2010

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Where the Sidewalk Ends

Poems by Shel Silverstein
Illustrated by Shel Silverstein
(“The Unicorn” is printed and illustrated on pages 76 & 77)

From the great creative mind of Shel Silverstein comes “The Unicorn,” first published as a poem in Silverstein’s 1974 collection of poetry for children, “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”   I have a special place in my heart for  Shel Silverstein’s books.  My grandmother, who was a Second Grade teacher for over thirty years, read his books to my sister and I when we were young.  I remember laughing hysterically at his funny references, creative use of language, and how he could see the world from a kid’s point of view.

“The Unicorn “was actually a song first, recorded by the Irish Rovers.  I have an original copy of  “The Unicorn” sheet music with a 1962 copyright.


“The Unicorn”
Words and Music by Shel Silverstein
Performed by The Irish Rovers


The Unicorn
Words and Music by Shel Silverstein
Recorded by The Irish Rovers, 1962

You can sing a slightly altered version of this Singable Poem on Ginger Sands’ CD “The Gift of Make Believe.”  Sands’ wonderful collection of children’s poetry set to music includes vocal and instrumental tracks for each poem.  The vocals for “The Unicorn” are on Track 5.  The instrumental sing-along is found on Track 15.

Hear musical clips or buy the tracks at many online music sellers, including Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Gift-of-Make-Believe/dp/B0019VU8QU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1267562676&sr=8-4


The Gift of Make Believe (Read and Sing Along Lyric Book)
Words by Various Artists
Tunes by Ginger Sands and Various Artists
Illustrations derived from published works of Various Artists

The booklet and lyric book contains an illustration for this poem and the slightly altered lyrics are printed in the back, along with illustrations for some fun motions for children to perform when singing the song.

More about Shel Silverstein, here: http://shelsilverstein.com/indexSite.html

A brief but informative obituary for Shel Silverstein (1932-1999), here: http://www.beachbrowser.com/Archives/eVoid/June-99/Shel-Silverstein-1932-1999.htm

“I would hope that people, no matter what age, would find something to identify with in my books, pick up one and experience a personal sense of discovery…That’s great. But for them, not for me. I think that if you’re a creative person, you should just go about your business, do your work and not care about how its received.”

Shel Silverstein, in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly in 1975

The Unicorn
A Poem by Shel Silverstein
Recorded by the Irish Rovers
A long time ago, when the Earth was green
There was more kinds of animals than you’ve ever seen
They’d run around free while the Earth was being born
And the loveliest of all was the unicorn

There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn

The Lord seen some sinning and it gave Him pain
And He says, “Stand back, I’m going to make it rain”
He says, “Hey Noah, I’ll tell you what to do
Build me a floating zoo,
and take some of those

Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born
Don’t you forget My unicorns

Old Noah was there to answer the call
He finished up making the ark just as the rain started to fall
He marched the animals two by two
And he called out as they came through
Hey Lord,

I’ve got green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but Lord, I’m so forlorn
I just can’t find no unicorns”

And Noah looked out through the driving rain
Them unicorns were hiding, playing silly games
Kicking and splashing while the rain was falling
Oh, them silly unicorns

There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Noah cried, “Close the door because the rain is falling
And we just can’t wait for no unicorns”

The ark started moving, it drifted with the tide
The unicorns looked up from the rocks and they cried
And the waters came down and sort of floated them away
That’s why you never see unicorns to this very day

You’ll see green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born
You’re never gonna see no unicorns.

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Related Articles

NOAH’S ARK IN SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/noahs-ark-in-singable-picture-books/

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