The Giving Tree
is about the friendship between a boy and a tree, and the unconditional love from the tree over the years. Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein in 1964, it is an emotive story that even adults will love.
“Once there was a tree … and she loved a little boy.” The boy visits the tree every day to eat her apples, swing from her branches and climb her trunk, “and the tree was happy”.
But as the boy grows older, he visits less and less, but wants more and more from the tree. The tree continues to give until it has nothing left.
This is a warm and loving story, that will demonstrate to your child to the gift of giving and unconditional love.
Tips for Parents
There are many profound concepts in this story that you can introduce to your child, at a level of detail appropriate to their age.
- Talk about the different parts of the tree – the apples, branches and trunk.
- Discuss generosity with your child – how the tree loves the boy so much, he keeps giving and giving. Talk about how you can feel good by making others happy even if it means giving something up.
- The story also has lessons around the exploitation of the environment. Talk to your child about how man takes and takes from the environment for his own benefit.
- Talk about the sadness and tragedy – how the boy takes so much from the tree until all that is left is a stump.
Sheldon Allan ‘Shel’ Silverstein was born in 1930 and grew up in Chicago. As well as an author of children’s books, he was an American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist and screenwriter.
Some of the other children’s books written by Shel are: A Giraffe and a Half, A Light in the Attic, Don’t Bump the Glump, Every Thing on It, Falling Up, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, Runny Babbit, The Missing Piece, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?