The Giving Tree
Happy birthday to a very special boy! Keep reading…
First published in 1964 The Giving Tree has been translated into more than 30 different languages. Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein, this story is about a relationship between a boy and a tree. The tree loved the little boy very much and the little boy loved it. There wasn’t anything the tree won’t do for the little boy and in an ultimate act of self-sacrifice; the tree let the boy cut down its trunk. Many years go by and little boy is now an old man returning to the tree but there is nothing left to give for the tree is now a stump. Sadly the tree says: “I am sorry, Boy… but I have nothing left to give you.” But the boy replies: “I don’t need very much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest.” The tree then says, “Well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.” And the boy did. And the tree was happy.
The Giving Tree with its distinctive neon green book jacket is a classic. Shel Silverstein’s style is very distinctive, fun and lighthearted. His simple line drawings look like doodles from a sketchbook. I love the simplicity of the art and the layout. The illustration and text marries well together, creating wonderful open spaces and breathing room for the story to flow.
The Giving Tree is a story about our capacity to love, our ability to put the needs of others before ourselves and expect nothing in return. The tree’s silent demonstration of love reminds me of my dad and a special boy I know, both are not very good at expressing their feelings but their actions speaks volume.
The Giving Tree, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author and Illustrator Shel Silverstein
(September 25th, 1930 to May 10th, 1999)
Born in Florida, Shel Silverstein started drawing at an early age by tracing the works of well-known American cartoonist Al Capp. Shel studied art at the University of Illinois but poor grades got him kicked out. He also attended the Art Institute of Chicago but left after only one year.
In 1953 Shel was drafted by the US Army and served in Japan and Korea. He was assigned to do layouts and paste up for Pacific Stars and Stripes and eventually got his cartoons published in the paper.
Shel Silverstein was a creative soul; he was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.
Shel Silverstein’s magnificent spirit lives on through his work which is wonderful documented on his website www.shelsilverstein.com
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers