Whenever people talk about Shel Silverstein, they inevitably bring up Where the Sidewalk Ends or The Giving Tree. I know that was the extent of my knowledge of his work. Outside of that, I never saw him mentioned. So, when I saw this book in a bin at Goodwill, I grabbed it immediately, interested to see what else he’d written. Turns out, I like this more than the books he’s most known for. It’s a rather simple story; a circle with a missing piece goes looking for it. Yet it’s where Silverstein takes that simple conceit that surprised me. It starts with the expected misadventures, as the circle tries out various pieces that don’t quite work. These are all suitably cute and funny. It’s what follows, when they find their missing piece, that elevates this story to something greater. Though they may now be whole, becoming whole has fundamentally altered both of their existences. Our main character thought going in that finding their missing piece would solve something, but it only causes unintended problems for both of them and they eventually decide to part ways once more, our main character once again initiating the search for their missing piece. Underneath this unassuming kids’ story is a poignant message about how maybe we shouldn’t pin all of our hopes on somebody else, expecting them to “complete” and better us. Perhaps we’re wrong to think we’re “missing” something, or that we’re meant to fill a supposed void in somebody else. There’s something so simple, yet so beautiful about that, and it sure beats The Giving Tree. (I could rant about that book, but I’ll spare you) I cannot wait to read this to my future children.