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The Giving Tree Hardcover – Feb 18 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 397 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (Feb. 18 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060256656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060256654
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 397 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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

From the Back Cover

"Once there was a tree . . . and she loved a little boy." So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk . . . and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older, he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave.

Since it was first published fifty years ago, Shel Silverstein's moving parable for readers of all ages has offered an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in return.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am actually shocked by some of the negative and strange reviews of this book. Some of them go into great depth deconstructing it in negative light or placing their own life issues into it. I wonder about the lives of these people. Clearly they 'missed the point'.

This is one of the most beautiful books in my view. It is a simple story, but one of great depth. It should make you think about life, and how you carry yourself along the path. Shel Silverstein is an amazing writer. His books of poems are equally amazing, just different. "Where The Sidewalk Ends" is still one of my favorite books as an adult. There is much to be drawn out of all of his writings. For those who can't or don't want to see it....sorry.
It's refreshing to have a book for children that really plants the seed of making them think about the important things in life. With all the manipulative nonsense out there in the world - advertising to your children from day one about how to eat, dress, talk, what to listen to, and on and on and on. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where we taught our children how to think and care about their actions, instead of just what to buy or false morality? Oh wait, we can! And you can start with this book right here.

"For Bright People Only" has the best review in my opinion.
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By A Customer on March 11 2004
Format: Hardcover
Like most of the reviewers here, I read this book as a young child. I remember it was not like any other children's book I had ever read. I remember not liking the boy as he grew older and not wanting to be like him when I grew up, but I also remember wondering why the tree gave so much for nothing in return. I had questions and I asked them.
Reading some of the reviews in here I am astonished at the degree and depth of ignorance some parents, including those describing themselves as educators, have with the themes in this book.
Here is a sampling of the conclusions:
"A cautionary tale about the human impact on the environment" -
Certainly one can draw a conclusion about the effect man has on the environment but to leave it at that is to miss the vast majority of the themes in the book. Or:
"it rationalizes and supports battered women staying with their scumbag abusers" -
The battered woman theme is so contrived that it could only be brought up by people who have nothing else on their minds but battered women. Give an inkblot to a battered woman and she sees a battered woman. Even:
"As a child, this was one of my favorite books. As an enlightened adult, it's a disturbing look at relationships"
This is a sad and ironic statement which strangely hints at the life of the person in the book! To the person that made this review: as a child you could "see"; as an adult you will make it what you want it to be. You are not enlightened; you were smarter as a child. Relationships!? Stop reading People magazine. The tree is not a symbol of people it is a symbol of bigger themes like life, unconditional love, self-awareness and introspection, even God - but relationships? Turn off your TV.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every kid and adult should read this book. It is wonderful and educative in how to treat nature but also others in general. It is so simple you wonder why you didn't come up with the story, yet so beautiful and well done that it is a MUST READ!
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Format: Hardcover
THE GIVING TREE has become a piece of classic modern children's literature. It is the story of a tree who gives everything she has to a little boy. At first the boy loves in return, but then he begins to take and take and give nothing in return, until finally after many years the tree is nothing more than a battered stump. The boy eventually returns to the tree and though he never acknowledges any selfish behavior the tree offers him what little she has left and the relationship between the two is restored.
I get teared up almost every time I read this story. To me, it seems to be a wonderful allegory about the nature of God's love and his relationship to humankind. God gives and gives and gives and we take and take and take, yet He loves us still, even though we are plotting our doom and will one day be brought low and destroyed for our transgressions. However, I also realize that there are several other ways of reading this books, too (there's the whole environmental take). Whatever way you read it, I find it amazing that the pot smoking Silverstein, who was known for using racy language, was also one of the foremost children's authors of the modern era and was able to write such a moving work. Knowing that, the effect of the story's moral is augmented.
Anyway. Some might think that the moral lesson in the giving tree isn't right for young children to know. I disagree. Life's not always fair and though there are many children who see the selfishness of the little boy, many fail to see the selfishness in themselves and therefore miss out on the book's main point. A wonderful, powerful, and moving children's story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book as an adult and to me, this book is ultimately about love...the kind of unconditional love for others without the same expected in return. This doesn't mean it is never appreciated or never returned but the expectation of having it returned is not there and so the giving tree is never jaded. It is a beautiful story. In many ways, you can take the book as a story about being parents and children - chidren appreciate what is given to them but the nature in the relationship makes good parents the primary givers and than we have to let them go, however sad it is, and they live their lives and become trees themselves. It can be related to any form of giving and universal love. You see, we all get to be the boy and the tree in the story at different stages in our lives and sometimes the sacrifice is more 'even' but in other stages it is not. This book is about living, giving, taking and loving. It is a book about the reward in loving without any expectations tied into the equation. This is not a book about allowing yourself to be a doormat, contrary to what is said in other reviews.
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