The Giving Tree

Front Cover
HarperCollinsPublishers, 2000 - Artists' books - 57 pages
2609 Reviews
To say that this particular apple tree is a "giving tree" is an understatement. In Shel Silverstein's popular tale of few words and simple line drawings, a tree starts out as a leafy playground, shade provider, and apple bearer for a rambunctious little boy. Making the boy happy makes the tree happy, but with time it becomes more challenging for the generous tree to meet his needs. When he asks for money, she suggests that he sell her apples. When he asks for a house, she offers her branches for lumber. When the boy is old, too old and sad to play in the tree, he asks the tree for a boat. She suggests that he cut her down to a stump so he can craft a boat out of her trunk. He unthinkingly does it. At this point in the story, the double-page spread shows a pathetic solitary stump, poignantly cut down to the heart the boy once carved into the tree as a child that said "M.E. + T." "And then the tree was happy ... but not really." When there's nothing left of her, the boy returns again as an old man, needing a quiet place to sit and rest. The stump offers up her services, and he sits on it. "And the tree was happy." While the message of this book is unclear (Take and take and take? Give and give and give? Complete self-sacrifice is good? Complete self-sacrifice is infinitely sad?), Silverstein has perhaps deliberately left the book open to interpretation. (All ages) --Karin Snelson.

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A lovely portrayal of selfless, unconditional love. - Goodreads
However, as unsatisfying as the ending is for man - Goodreads
I love Shel Silverstein, and I love his writing. - Goodreads
I liked the squiggly artwork. - Goodreads
It is very simplistic in the writing. - Goodreads
The pictures are spare and elegant. - Goodreads

Review: The Giving Tree

User Review  - Courtney Bird - Goodreads

This would be a great lesson book for kids. You can show how the little boy keeps taking from the tree until it is only a stump, that sometimes there are bigger things in life. Read full review

Review: The Giving Tree

User Review  - Connie Lyle - Goodreads

This tree like a good parent gives everything it has to make her boy happy. As with most parents you stand by and watch your children go off and start their own lives knowing you did all you could do for them and hope they return often to visit. Read full review

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About the author (2000)

The most popular current writer of humorous verse for children, Shel Silverstein was born in Chicago, Illinois, has been married and divorced, has one daughter, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. His career includes composing popular songs, drawing cartoons, writing many adult articles (several for Playboy), and acting. However, he is best known for his self-illustrated children's poetry. His first such book was Uncle Shelby's Story of Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back (1963), the humorous tale of a lion who turns the tables on hunters. It was followed by The Giving Tree (1964), a story of a parentlike tree that gives endlessly and is endlessly used by its son. Several other such picture books followed, including The Missing Piece (1976), about a circle that goes in search of a missing piece, and its sequel, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (1981). However, two collections of poetry are probably his best-loved work: Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein (1974), and A Light in the Attic (1981). All of Silverstein's poetry for children employs the language play common to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Silverstein is probably the best of the contemporary nonsense poets for children.

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