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DIFFERENT DANCES
(New York Times Book Review, November 4, 1979)

If "Tantrum" is a novel, "Different Dances" is a series of short stories. These new drawings reveal that Shel Silverstein is a lively artist with a sure line and a gift for evoking expression, but the stories he tells are far more predictable than Mr. Feiffer's. For the most part, Mr. Silverstein uses drawing alone to make his point, and perhaps this limits the depth with which he can delineate the relationships between people that are at the center of each of his brief parables. He tells us that men are sometimes frustrated or stifled by women, that women are sometimes held captive by men, that creativity is thwarted by editors and academics, that homosexuals feel guilty and that people use one another. All this is true enough but hardly original. Because Mr. Silverstein chooses to deal with "adult" subjects, he must distinguish between sophistication and vulgarity. For me he has not always succeeded in avoiding crudity, but perhaps his considerable public will be more tolerant of this oversize book than I was.

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