Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book
(ISBN 067121148X) is an alphabet
book by Shel Silverstein
. The cover on some editions of the book read "A primer for adults only" while other editions read "A primer for tender young minds" instead. Much of the humor derives from a cynical drive to give terrible advice to the readers. This advice may seem to be geared towards gullible children. A portion of the book originally appeared in Playboy
magazine in a different form than that found in the book. The book was first published in 1961. Silverstein urges the readers to keep termites as pets, informs them that Mommy loves the baby more than she loves you, and tells them that there are magic elves living inside the television. While this advice is offered in a humorous vein, some readers have taken the book at face value and been offended. Indeed, Silverstein is one of the American Library Association
's most challenged authors.
While it is some readers' opinion that the book's humor is directed more towards adults, it was a theory of "Uncle Shelby" (Shel Silverstein) that children and elderly people should be treated the same as anybody else and not as children and elderly people.