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The Giving Tree

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,043,766 ratings  ·  20,569 reviews
"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 tr
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published October 7th 1964 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1964)
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Kong King This book is about a co-dependent tree that will sacrifice everything it has to make a non-reciprocating person happy. I'm not quite sure why so many …moreThis book is about a co-dependent tree that will sacrifice everything it has to make a non-reciprocating person happy. I'm not quite sure why so many people like it, it does not have educational value except to teach that a poisonous relationship is a lose-lose situation. (less)

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Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,043,766 ratings  ·  20,569 reviews

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Dec 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: brat-lit, low-calorie

Okay, this some motherfuckin' fucked-up shit right here. The Giving Tree is the straight-up wack story of how this selfish little ass-faced prick kicks it with this full-on saintly tree. Ever'thin' fine for a while, y'all, with the lil' prick all gettin' up in there an' sayin' to the tree, "Yeah, you know you mah bitch," but then all of a sudden, this jumped-up prick go through puberty, get his chia on or some such shit, and so he
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I recently read this book to my little boy.

It's not the first time I've read it. It's probably not even the tenth time. But it's the first time I've read the book in a decade, and given the fact that my memory is like a cheese grater, I like to think I got a pretty fresh experience.

The result is this: I honestly don't know how I feel about this book.

Even if you haven't read the story, you probably know the gist of it. A tree loves a young boy and gives away pieces of itself to the boy to make
Jan 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-folks
I know that many people have a sentimental love for this book, and I respect that -- you can't rationalize emotional connection. And generally, I like this author. But with this book, since it inspired no real emotional response in me, I am left with only the rational perspective, which in me was this:

This book troubles me deeply, because it enshrines self-destructive and self-pitying martyrdom as the paragon of love for others. And I think there is already far too much of this in our society.
Sava Hecht
Nov 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
Co-dependent tree needs to set some fucking boundaries.
Apr 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Scrolling down, it seems several reviewers resent this book's apparently heavy-handed message about selfishness/selflessness. I can totally understand why they find it upsetting or sappy. Overbearing, even. But I don't agree.

Some fascinating theories have been put forth about The Giving Tree. It's deceptively simple on its surface, yes. But if this were truly just some hard and fast hippie dippy morality tale, would its two main characters (living natural tree, growing human boy) and their relat
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. First published in 1964 by Harper & Row, it has become one of Silverstein's best known titles and has been translated into numerous languages.

The book follows the lives of an apple tree and a boy, who develop a relationship with one another. The tree is very "giving" and the boy evolves into a "taking" teenager, a middle-aged man, and finally an elderly man. Despite the fact
Lisa of Troy
Mar 15, 2022 rated it did not like it
Should Be Called The Codependent Tree

There is a boy and a tree. The boy constantly asks the tree for things. Even as the boy grows old, he never stops asking the tree for assistance. He never does anything for the tree. And the tree is happy.

Every time I read this book, it gives me a queasy feeling. It is a visceral reaction. This book doesn’t sit right with me. Why would anyone have to be a shell of themselves to make someone else happy? Why does a one-directional relationship make the tree hap
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Yes, the boy is a selfish bastard, who doesn't deserve the love and generosity he gets time and again. Anyone who read this book as a child is well aware of this fact.

Nonetheless, I'm shocked to see how many disliked it. My only thought is that many readers allow their hatred for the boy to be confused with hatred for the book. Does the book condone the boy's behavior, or simply seek to tell a narrative? Does the quality of a book suffer when the moral quality of its characters flags?

It is the j
Robin Hobb
I added this book to my shelf years ago in the physical world. I've read it, I don't know how many times, mostly aloud to children.

In conversations with other people, I've discovered that there is strong dislike for this book. I like this book, mostly because it does make me uncomfortable. I'd say the same thing about Shel Silverstein's The Missing Piece.

You can read either of these books in less than 15 minutes, so I'm not going to worry too much about a spoiler. Basically, the tree is friend
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Here's the book I really want to read:

May 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-children
So it is Christmas time, and my wife likes to have all of us—my wife and I, and our three years old twins—do a different event each night during Advent as a family. I like this practice; it is little things like this that keep our family strong. Tonight’s event was reading Christmas themed books.

We decided to read THE GIVING TREE as well as three other Christmas books. Had I foreseen what was about to transpire I would have omitted THE GIVING TREE from my selection.

Allow me to replay said event:
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Please visit our blog at www.twogalsandabook.com to see this and other reviews!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a must read for children. It's a story that can bring tears to your eyes. Children can learn about the importance of caring, giving, and how we should treat others.

This essential and childhood favorite still remains a part of our home library.

Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Aug 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shel Silverstein tells us the story of a boy and a tree. The tree loves the boy and gives him its fruits, leaves, branches, and even the trunk to the boy. But the boy grows older and still asks for more.

You can see it as a toxic relationship between a boy and the tree. This can also be interpreted as a story of the unconditional love of the tree with the boy.

"I wish that I could give you something... but I have nothing left. I am an old stump."

Different people will interpret this book in
Apr 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
Horrific relationship between a selfish unappreciative child and an enabling self-sacrificing mother who has no purpose in life other than to give herself away. I keep expecting a missing page to show up where he pisses all over the tree stump at the end.

I think this is offensive and despicable.

It is a horrible lesson for children. I'd rather see more literature that honors and respects the sacrifices that parents make, rather than this book's actual focus: demonstrating the expectations that th
Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This book review is now available on my blog at https://www.skylarb.com/single-post/2...

Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
“Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.”
The Giving Tree ~~ Shel Silverstein


I recently reread Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. It was the first time in many years I have read it. I love this book ; I always have. But, reading it as an adult, over 30, was so different this time around. The warm fuzzies of past reads were missing. Now, it made me feel sad, and empty. This go around, I saw it not as a parable of generosity and love, but instead I saw it as a story of selfishness
Brian Yahn
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Giving Tree will rip your heart out in 621 words.

We all know and love Shel Silverstein for his whimsical poems, but The Giving Tree is both one of the saddest and most hopeful stories ever told. Pure and utter genius, this one is.
Feb 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kidsbooksiread
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nilesh Kashyap
Mar 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-story
I try to steal books written for children, since I am no giving tree and I am not paying for what my child reads. But this book, each time I read this (at the bookshop itself), I thrust it back to the place from where I took it, angrily, if I may add. This book does not deserve to be stolen.

What makes me angry:
Each time I read this story, all I want to do is to insert my hand in bookcover, catch that falling fruit and saw the tree and take it home and make bat for my child a foot that my bed is
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-fiction
Book Review
I first read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein when I was twelve-years old, but then I read it again in college as part of a course called "Reading in the Elementary School." My opinion didn't necessarily change between the two reads, but my eyes were opened a little wider. I never realized it was such a controversial book, nor that the author was sometimes considered not ideal for children, despite writing picture books for them.

The basic gist of the book revolves aroun
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Reading the other reviews on this book, I'm really surprised that there's such a level of hatred for this book. But then I thought everyone else in the world loved my fourth grade teacher too. We have to grow up sometime.

I can't imagine not loving this book. I can imagine berating the attitude of the boy, of the tree, but I can't imagine not coming away from this book with a deeper understanding of human nature, of reciprocity, of a parent's love for a child and the nature of servanthood.

Reading_ Tamishly
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know why I cried reading this one.
No, I know why I did.
It reminded me of the times I take my parents for granted.
It reminded me of the times I take those who were selfless for me for granted.
The one who keeps giving keeps on giving without expecting in return.
While I am like the one who keeps on taking keeps on taking.
It is just not only that.
I don't know how to describe the moments the boy keeps coming back to the tree especially in the end when how both the tree and the boy(who was a m
Jul 13, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children
Easily the most vile children's book ever written, for reasons eloquently stated by about a zillion other posters here. I remember my grandmother, whom I disliked (yeah, some kids don't like their grandparents, it's true) used to push this book on me as terribly DEEP and BEAUTIFUL and something I should really THINK ABOUT. And you wonder why I didn't like my grandmother? (My mother thought it was a piece of shit, too.) Anyway, it's a vomitous book, always has been, and I'm glad there are other p ...more
Mutasim Billah
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
For such a small children's book The Giving Tree has managed to polarize opinions on a very interesting topic: the joy of giving. At what point does selflessness equal madness and folly, or at what point is unconditional love become toxic behavior?

The story is of a boy and an apple tree. The boy grows up and keeps demanding of the tree and the tree keeps on lovingly providing for the boy until there is nothing left but a stump.

Silverstein initially found it difficult to get The Giving Tree publi
Michael Finocchiaro
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shel Silverstein is truly one of the greatest American poets for kids. The Giving Tree is a wonderful story about friendship and ageing. No spoilers, but don't let your kids miss out on this absolutely gorgeous story! ...more
I have always loved this book. AS youth we even acted it out as a skit with four people playing the tree.

Last year, I read someone memoir and they hated this book and talked about how unhealthy the premise is. Giving all you have to someone that leaves you until there is nothing left. There are no healthy boundaries here. I can see it from this side and the other side. It bring out many different arguments which is what art is supposed to do. I have to say, I still love the story, I'm am more c
Jan Bednarczuk
Sep 01, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens
I can't stand this book. Someone gave it to my children as a gift, and I'm very close to hiding it or giving it away so that I don't have to read it to them at bedtime anymore. The selfish, uncaring boy who takes and takes and takes from the tree until the tree literally has nothing more to give, just makes me want to reach through the pages and throttle him. What's the message here? Is it "When someone loves you, it's okay to just take advantage of them endlessly because they will always be the ...more
John Mauro
Jul 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Is this a children's story or the most effective flash fiction for adults ever written? The story is that of a one-sided relationship. The tree gives fully of herself, without holding anything back. The boy takes and takes, thinking only of himself. The story is both beautiful and unsettling. The simple prose is perfect for conveying this didactic story, which remains as sharp as ever nearly 60 years after its initial publication. Over the decades, this five-star book has only grown in its impor ...more
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, gift
The book is impossible to wrap my mind around. Part of me wishes it ended thusly: the tree suggests the boy chop her down to make a boat, he takes her advice, and the tree falls on him, killing them both. The moral being a quote I've heard attributed to Bill Cosby: If you spend your whole life trying to make other people happy, YOU'LL never be happy. The boy is punished for all but raping the one who cares more for him than anyone in the world, and the tree pays the ultimate price for a lifetime ...more
Nandakishore Mridula
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just listened to an animated reading of the book by the author himself.

I see opinion is divided on this book. Many people see it as a fable of unconditional love and are touched. Others see it as exploitation and are offended.

I see it as a fable about man and nature. "He" takes from nature as much as "she" can give, until nothing more is left: in the end, only nature is left for him. Something to brood about in modern times.

Is it a good story for small children? Maybe not.
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2020 Roe Reading ...: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein 2 6 Mar 17, 2021 06:15AM  
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Shel Silverstein was the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.

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