The Giving Tree



Title:    The Giving Tree
Author: Silverstein, Shel
Publisher: Harper Collins Publisher
First Published: 1964
Price:    S$31.03
Available: Kinokuniya Bookstore
Parent Reviewer: Etan


The Giving Tree
, translated into more than 30 languages, might look to most a children’s book given its simplicity of language and illustrations. It tells of the relationship between The Tree and The Boy where the
former sacrificially and unconditionally offers the latter its attention, time, love and eventually its whole being despite The Boy’s selfishness.

The story is seen as a metaphor for our relationship with our loved ones - parents, siblings, relatives, spouse, children, friends and colleagues. A deeper association would be between that of man and nature or God. How much have we been given and vice-versa? Who are The Tree and The Boy in our lives?

Why is there an endless lack in The Boy? Our relationship with our loved ones need not be  complicated but simple as in the words and illustrations used by the author since it requires only love and graciousness, much like the way God loves us.

This is a good book to have in the library or presented as a gift. As it is simple to read, it can be circulated among family members to create a talking point at the dining table. You will be surprised by the controversial points that could be raised through such a simple and child-like book but I would caution against over-analysing it especially to a young child who simply needs to appreciate the concept of love. A timeless piece, indeed.