Albert Benjamin

What is the overall message for this story??

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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 people like it, it does not have educational value except to teach that a poisonous relationship is a lose-lose situation.
Hannah This story speaks strongly of love. Not a romantic love, but agape love. Agape is Greek for 'unconditional love.' That is what I believe is shown by the tree to the boy. He keeps asking for all of this stuff, and she gives it to him as best as she can, because all she wants is him to be happy. No matter what he wanted, she did her best to give it to him. Her apples, her branches, her trunk, then finally her stump. Seeing him happy made her happy. This might not fully answer your question but I hope it helps, at least slightly.
Meghan This book is for children needing to understand the difference between being selfish and giving, the good and the bad sides of both.

The point is to show kids what being selfish results in. It is about the unconditional love that most parental-type adult figures show their kids. Kids ask for things because they are kids. But as they grow older, if they don't learn to recognize the gifts from others around them, they will keep taking and taking. The result is the kids who get everything they ask for grow up and have nothing left at the end. Once the childish adult has used up everything given to him, there is no one around to give him anything.

It's fairly self explanatory. Everyone ascribing other values, such as co-dependence and anti-feminist rhetoric and what not, are simply thinking as an adult that has been crammed full of other life experiences.
Rena Sherwood The book states that sacrificing yourself for others is great. Actually, in the real world, it's not. The tree really gets screwed in the relationship with this abusive boy.
Samira Elytess This book brought tears to my eyes and gave me a heart-sore.

The moral of the story is that when an imbecile selfish dick rules the world, expect no trees. Just like today...where are our trees and rain forest?
The trees that are home to some animals and give you food,oxygen, medicine, shade, beauty, tranquility, and keeps you company in your joy, sadness,and solitude.

Sheeple will buy into the facade of the story which is "Unconditional" love. Oooh, how cute...


To take advantage of a lover's nurturing personality to the point of ruining them and stripping them from their self-hood is unconditional love!!?? Transferring them from an awe inspiring mighty tree, to an unwanted stump?

Where is Lorax to stand up for the trees?
The second flood to rid Mother Earth of Human fleas?
Tamara I completely disagree with what many of these answers say. This is abusive and terrible.
James It is a story about love of a parent to a child. As the child ages and the child's needs increase they take more away from the parent, not just the physical resources but also morality. The boy literally goes away in life carried by, and carrying the tree, with him. At the end of the boy's life the tree is long physically dead, but the memory and ethics of the tree become the comfort that the old man relies on.

The tree is not codependent, and the boy is not abusive. One generation gives all it has to the next, and is remembered for it when the first generation is gone.
Barbara That men have all the power and women exist solely to be exploited.

Sorry, but I don't believe Silverstein ever meant for this book to be taken as a treatise on love.
Megha This story is not actually for kids. It is for grown ups. The story gives an implication that too much of unconditional and selfless love will never be understood and appreciated.

I feel bad that till the last the boy never understood the love and sacrifice of the tree. Neither he understood the tree's sacrifice, nor did he feel any sense of gratitude for the tree. That's too bad. :(
Tyrion I felt that the author intended the overall message to be a more positive one--especially given that the target audience is elementary school-aged children. A message of love and sacrifice, of being able to give everything for the person you love without expecting anything back. And this was the message I recalled whenever I had an especially bad fight with my mom. All the horrible things I said and did, and she still showered me with love and devotion. She was my giving tree.
Le Petite Beauvoir There are three kinds of people in this world. Givers, takers and matchers. The first two are self explanatory. The last kind is the people who match everything. They compliment those who compliment them. If you forget their birthday, they will purposely "forget" yours. They will be there for you only if you are there for them. The point of this book is don't be a taker. Be a giver. And don't be mean to trees, they are awesome.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) That enabling just gets you used. I think it would be useful to spark a discussion with a kid about what constitutes a healthy friendship as opposed to letting yourself be reshaped by peer pressure in order to be liked.
Jessica Give until you can't give any more? Or is it take until the other has no more give? This book glorifies not having healthy boundaries. If it was meant as a warning, the tree should not have been happy in the end, or the boy should have regretted exploiting the tree, neither of which happened.
Roqayeh represents man's insatiable desire

Human beings are profit-driven
Fran Severn Greed is good. The little brat destroys the tree in order to serve his own selfish interests. It's a textbook of toxic relationships and enabling behavior. I freaking HATE this book.
Gil-or (readingbooksinisrael) That taking without reciprocating will leave you with nothing.
D The book is about unconditionally giving because you want to, not because you expect something in return. Its about how when it comes down to it, no one and nothing in this world owes you anything in the end.
Screamforme After reading it I had an impression that the book depicts the fact that when we grow older we loose our joy and happiness. I mean, we often can't find pure joy everyday e.g. just swinging on a tree as we used to do as a child.
Mia The message in this story is that you will be much happier to see someone else happy than have a bunch of material things. Unconditional love to someone is better than anything else, and you will be much more content in life.
Jo I think it means if you care about someone you should give them everything you have, because even when you think you've given all you can there's always something left. The boy thought only about himself, and yet the tree gave him all she could because she cared, and she was still there for him after she gave everything.
Dani Oh wow, so this is Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince in a new setting? I haven’t read the book, didn’t know it existed, but I now know where the inspiration came for a truly splendid adaptation (parody, then, I guess) called The Muffin Tree. It’s an early youtube video in which the little kid gets poisoned by the tree once it gets too greedy. Maybe today’s kids need a more blunt message - my kids loved it and asked for it repeatedly at the ages of about 6-7 upwards.

I shall ask them soonish if they remember it, I am pretty sure they do! Now in their mid-twenties, they are definitely not takers or matchers. However, I think that may have to do with having been brought up surrounded by givers. They both have boundaries too, but rather than crediting the animation student from twenty years ago or more, I suspect we loved the video because it very absurdly, fabulously, rhymed with how we already lived.

It turns the Muffin Films were made by Amy Winfrey for her phd thesis. She later created, among other things, Making Fiends, whivh i have just checked out and is similar in terms of hunour. Love it 😄
Minh Phan At the first time of reading this book to my little girl, i had no idea of how to summarize the book's content or give any advice for her. I expected more for it to be the most-wanted-to-read book for kids. Yes, a little bit confused :)
ReadEatSleepRepeat It is an amazing and touching book about friendship. I shows how strong friendship can be as well of how you should try to make sure not to act like that boy and to make sure to have an equal relationship with friends. Additionally it is a story of growing up and having different values than one had years before.
Enrique The way I see the parable is that it refers to our relationship with live and where we find our contentment. :-)
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