"Where the Sidewalk Ends" is all about the world of nature that lies beyond the borders of the city. You could also see this place as being even further away, in a supernatural world that can only exist in our imaginations. Of course, this imaginary world is in some way represented by images from nature. Moon-birds and peppermint wind might not actually be anything like the world of nature we're used to, but they are based on things we find in nature. The city represents, then, the world of the everyday and mundane that our imaginations help us to escape.
In this poem, nature represents the world of the imagination, while the city represents the mundane and everyday.
This poem suggests that happiness can only be found in nature.
There's a wild new version of the real world being constructed in "Where the Sidewalk Ends," far far away from any land we've walked to on a sidewalk or even a dirt path through the woods. This reality is an escape from the city that you can make without actually physically leaving the sidewalk. It takes us deep into the land of childhood fantasies, and just because we must use our imaginations to travel to where the sidewalk ends, doesn't make it any less real. Adults and children alike can benefit from a stroll into the alternate reality created in this poem.
The place where the sidewalk ends is a metaphor for the imagination.
This poem views the imagination as a powerful tool to create other realities.
Even though the place "Where the Sidewalk Ends" may not actually exist in reality, it definitely exists in our minds, and we still need a sense of adventure and exploration to reach it. Following those chalk-white arrows to an unknown world requires you to be brave and bold. If you're willing, you'll be rewarded with spectacular new discoveries. Once you take that leap, this poem suggests, you'll find yourself in a world unbound by pavement and full of wonder.
The exploration depicted in this poem is figurative, reaching into the realms of the imagination rather than an actual physical place.
The exploration in this poem is literal, depicting a trip into the countryside.
Though anyone with an imagination could probably find the way to the place where the sidewalk ends on his own, great stress is placed on following the marks made by children. It's children who spend more time than anyone else on the sidewalk, riding bikes or playing hopscotch. It's children who dream up things like moon-birds, and don't think it's strange at all for the wind to smell like peppermint. So it's children who discover the way to the place where the sidewalk ends and the imagination begins. In "Where the Sidewalk Ends," youth is the key to everything.
This poem urges its readers to return to the creativity and innocence of their youth.
This poem is best when read by an audience of adults, not children, as would be expected, because adults need to be reminded of the value of imagination.