Shel Silverstein is best known as a children's book author who wrote and illustrated a number of bestselling books that have charmed millions of readers of all ages. Crossing many artistic boundaries, he was also a noted songwriter and an accomplished playwright. Silverstein first came to prominence in the 1950s as a cartoonist for Playboy, where he assumed the role of roving ambassador for the up-and-coming magazine. This esteemed assignment-due in no small part to his friendship with Hugh M. Hefner-was the auspicious beginning of a most amazing career. Shel Silverstein died in 1999.