Review: The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree

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The Giving Tree By Shel Silverstein

In kids literature, this is one of the classics. It was originally published in 1964.

The story speaks about a tree that loves a boy. Over the life of the boy, the tree keeps giving it everything. Starting from giving leaves to make crown, apples to eat and sell, a place to play, whether it be swing or hide and seek, and shade to sleep. When the boy grows older, the tree gives its branches to build his house, and finally the trunk to build the boat.

Now as old man, he comes, the tree had nothing to give. Yet, still, it gave its old stump as a resting place. And the tree was happy.

Seen on the face, this is really a sad story. In terms of a book for kids, it shows unconditional love. Perhaps allegorically the unconditional love of mother to her child. In another way, through unconditional love of tree, it gives the message that we should not be selfish.

This book was way ahead of its times. When environmental issues were not talked about, this one had a clear environmental message. In many native/tribal societies, the earth is looked up as a mother and worshiped. A clear allegory of the story can be seen to the earth that we keep exploiting and do little or are careless to regenerate. The earth gives us unconditional love and keeps our existence a reality.

The message in this book is for kids and adults alike.

Copyright © Anup Mukherjee
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