The Poem Smart
by Shel Silverstein

There's nothing like the poem Smart by Shel Silverstein to wise us up on the innocence of children. This amazing poem first came to us in 1974 with the publication of the book, Where the Sidewalk Ends.

"My dad gave me one dollar bill
'Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
'Cause two is more than one!
And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes -- I guess he don't know
That three is more than two! . . ."

You can probably tell where this is going, as the "smartest son" continues swapping out his money. In the end he has 5 pennies and runs off to show his dad how "smart" he is.

You can listen to full poem as presented on the air of America's Public Media, Marketplace Radio Show. Slide the track to 25 minutes to get to the start of the reading.

Also, we found a video presentation of Silverstein's poem, Smart created as an elementary school class project. This video actually uses Shel's narration of the poem, which definitely makes it worth the watch.

Teachers and home educators may be interested in using this poem as a resource in teaching the value of money. We did find a lesson plan, which includes printouts for your use here: "How Smart Are You with Money?"

To find out more information regarding some of Shel's other poems you can visit our Shel Silverstein Poems page.

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