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The Giving Tree

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  814,683 ratings  ·  16,234 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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Alex Garza a child of two may not fully understand the premise of the book. but its still appropriate. especially when used as an aide in teaching values, love…morea child of two may not fully understand the premise of the book. but its still appropriate. especially when used as an aide in teaching values, love and compassion. my mother read this to me many times during my childhood and I loved it. I have many first editions in my collection, but my old ratty copy of this book is my most loved by far. such a wonderful story, it still chokes me up every time read it, i can't wait to read this book to my own future child.(less)

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4.37  · 
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 ·  814,683 ratings  ·  16,234 reviews

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

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
Recommends it for: Psychologists?
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
Recommends it for: enviornmentalists, nurturers, parents and children who want to discuss empathy and reciprocity
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.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه می سال 2009 میلادی
عنوان: درخت بخشنده؛ نویسنده: شل سیلورستاین؛ مترجم: سیما مجیدزاده؛ مشهد، گل آفتاب، 1383 در 55 ص؛ شابک: 9645599326؛ چاپ هفتم 1388؛ چاپ دهم 1392، شابک: 9789645599322؛ موضوع: داستان
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all human beings
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
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Please visit our blog at 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.

Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This book review is now available on my blog at

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:
Brian Yahn
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
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.
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
Nilesh Kashyap
Mar 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Trees, that can read
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
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
“Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.”
Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree


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,
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 around friend
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
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.

Feb 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Here's the book I really want to read:

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!
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
من دلم می خواست می توانستم به تو چیزی بدهم
اما چیزی برایم باقی نمانده. من فقط یک کنده پیر
...و کهنسالم. متاسفم

ممنون عموشلبی عزیز
که به یادم آوردی «مادر» چه وجود مقدسی است
که عظمت عشقش فراتر از درک ماست

پسرک بزرگ شد و مرد شد و بعد پیرمرد، ولی هیچوقت از درخت سپاسگزاری نکرد
و با خودم فک می کنم که چقدر شبیه اش اویم؟
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful story

A beautiful and powerful story of friendship. How often we don't appreciate what is right in front of our eyes.
Jul 13, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: not terribly bright hippies
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
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
Wendy Darling
"I am sorry," sighed the tree. I wish that I could give you something...but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry...."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy,
"Just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
"Well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
And the boy did.

And the tree was happy.
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
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Review on 1st Read:
Read it with my little sister Sarah. It's a sweet and thought-provoking read. It explains so much in such simple and straight-forwards words.

Review on 2nd Read:
I read this again today because my father saw a video on facebook that was based on it but in the end it related the tree to parents who give everything for their children. My father loved it and I couldn’t stop myself from printing out the 2 pages and hand it to him. I love him and I love this book.
This book really
Mar 14, 2009 added it
Sorry, Mr Silverstein. This kind of tripe is inexcusable. And exposing children to it? I'm no child psychologist, but what would be the point? I'd hazard a guess that Bernie Madoff read this book, and look how he turned out. In fact there's a whole generation of bwankers who took it as their bible. Thanks a bunch, Shelly boy.

My real reaction to this piece of morally ambiguous reprehensible mawkishness is best expressed by the kind of interpretative dance that was Molly Shannon's forte (one sylla
Jan Bednarczuk
Sep 01, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
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
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"يكى بود،يكى نبود.يك درخت بود،كه پسر كوچولويى را دوست داشت."
هر دفعه با خودم ميگم "آخه مگه يه داستان كوتاه چقدر ميتونه خوب و تاثيرگذار باشه؟" و هر دفعه با يه داستانى مواجه ميشم كه معادلاتمو بهم ميريزه.اين كتاب رو امروز تو كتابخونه ملاقات كردم و لا به لاى روندِ بروكراتيكِ تمديدِ زمانِ تحويلِ كتبِ امانتى(!)،تصميم گرفتم نگاهى بهش بندازم.
خوندن كتاب كلا ٥ دقيقه طول نميكشه و بى نهايت زيباست.
از داستان چيزى نميگم چون سر جمع ١٠-١٥ خط بيشتر نيست و لوس ميشه،اما ياد سكانس پايانى فيلم "مادر!" افتادم كه جنيفر
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
My wife and I had a debate about this book:

VONNIE: I’m not sure at what age a person discovers the joy of giving. Maybe, for me, it was that first Christmas when I had saved up enough of my allowance to actually buy something for my parents. I remember the anticipation of watching them unwrap the gift and then the big smiles that spread across their faces as they said “Vonnie, you shouldn’t have.” I think The Giving Tree is really a story about parenthood, and the lengths to which moms and dads
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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.
“Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.” 1981 likes
“... and she loved a boy very, very much-- even more than she loved herself.” 398 likes
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