"I didn't," Shel said, "I never planned to write or draw for kids. It was Tomi Ungerer, a friend of mine, who insisted—practically dragged me, kicking and screaming, into Ursula Nordstrom's office. And she convinced me that Tomi was right; I could do children's books. " The relationship between Ursula Nordstrom and Shel Silverstein is mutually rewarding. He considers her a superb editor who knows when to leave an author-illustrator alone. Asked if he would change something he had produced on an editor's say-so, he answered with a flat "No. " But he added: "Oh, I will take a suggestion for revision. I do eliminate certain things when I'm writing for children if I think only an adult will get the idea. Then I drop it, or save it. But editors messing with content? No. " Had he been surprised by the astronomical record of The Giving Tree, his biggest seller to date and one of the most successful children's books in years? Another emphatic no. "What I do is good," he said. "I wouldn't let it out if I didn't think it was. " But The Giving Tree, which has been selling steadily since it appeared almost 10 years ago and has been translated into French, is not his own favorite among his books. "I like Uncle Shelby's ABZ, A Giraffe and a Half, and Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back—I think I like that one the most. "