In this verse for children, Silverstein plays with the idea of malingering: the protagonist, "little Peggy Ann McKay" invokes all kinds of alarming ailments from the common to the bizarre ("My hip hurts when I move my chin") in order to stay home from school. The poem swings with a couplet rhyme scheme until the dramatic turn, when little Peggy discovers it's Saturday. She is miraculously freed of all symptoms and one can imagine her puckishly skipping out the door to play.


This is a lighthearted poem by a poet beloved by children and parents. A great read-aloud poem, it inspires the reader to stand up and act it out as well. Although other Silverstein poems and stories carry poignancy and pathos, for me, this one is just fun.


Also available on audio CD, read by the poet. The collection, Where the Sidewalk Ends, won several awards.

Primary Source

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings



Place Published

New York