Wonderful Books from the Past: The Giving Tree

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The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is, in my opinion, one of the greatest children’s authors of all time. He began writing at the age of twelve, and masterfully illustrated and wrote stories, poems, plays, and songs that appealed to children. His works include A Giraffe and a Half, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, A Light in the Attic, The Missing Piece, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, Runny Babbit, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Who wants a cheap Rhinoceros, and Don’t Bump the Glump! As a child, one of my favorite books was Falling Up, a collection of poems written & illustrated by Shel Silverstein in his unique imaginative and humorous style.

The Giving Tree is the story of the relationship between a boy and a tree. It is a thought-provoking tale that both the young and old can appreciate. The narrative follows the friendship of the two as the boy grows up. First, the tree is the boy’s playmate, providing him with food to eat (apples!), and an activity to do (climbing the trunk & swinging on the branches). As the boy grows up, the tree continues to give the boy what he asks for. This is a great story to revisit after initially reading it as a child, because the perceptions of the relationship between the boy & the tree change as the reader of the book matures. Some feel that the story is meant to convey the relationship between mother nature & the development of society, while others feel that it is a story of growing up and the different things that you need as you grow. Regardless of your interpretation, you are sure to take something away from this touching tale!

Happy Reading!

Kelley

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One response »

  1. Kelley, I like how you mentioned other works of Shel Silverstein, he has undoubtedly influenced many young readers. Thank you for bringing up the different interpretations of the books – mother nature and and development of society (I had never thought of that before!) and growing up. Interestingly, some also argue that The Giving Tree represents sexist attitudes towards women! You are right that it is up to the readers interpretation and that it will leave an impression. Thanks for the post!

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