The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree

4.5 298
by Shel Silverstein

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"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

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"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 tree, and the tree gave and gave.

This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Staff
Shel Silverstein takes a poignant and gentle look at the art of giving and the concept of unconditional love in his deeply profound children's book The Giving Tree. The story tells of the relationship between a young boy and a tree. Giving the boy what he wants is what makes the tree happy, a function it serves throughout the boy's life. First the tree is a place for the boy to play and munch on apples, later its branches serve as a source of lumber to build a house, and later still, its trunk provides the wood for a boat. By the time the boy has become an old man, he has used so much of what the tree has to give that all that remains is a stump. Yet all the old man needs at this point is a place to sit and rest, a function the stump nicely -- and happily -- serves.

Silverstein's drawings are deceptively simple -- black-and-white line sketches that leave plenty of white space on the page -- yet each illustration demonstrates a subtlety of emotion and change that is as captivating as it is basic. The gradual loss of the tree's various parts makes for a strong visual message. By the time the tree reaches the stump stage, the stark drawing is a perfect companion for the accompanying words: "And the tree was happy...but not really." The Giving Tree can be read over and over again, for a child's understanding of its message will likely change as the child grows. Although this isn't a colorful, fun-filled, happy-themed book, its message is a profound one that will likely inform and impress children for generations to come.

--Beth Amos

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.87(w) x 10.32(h) x 0.57(d)
530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Giving Tree 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 298 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book 'THE GIVING TREE' by Shel Silverstein is a great book to read to children. It is a sad story but the lesson that it teaches is really valuable. This story speaks about the unconditional love the tree had towards the boy.When the boy was little he would gather the leaves, climb up on her trunk and swing from her branches. She would let him eat her apples and give him shade when he was tired. As he grows older he completely forgets about the tree. He remembers her only when he needs her.But the tree keeps giving him whatever the boy wanted. The man sells all the apples and even cuts her down to build his house. Even then the tree keeps giving whatever he wanted. When I read this book to my children , my daughter who is going to 3rd grade said that it was very mean on the boy's part to keep asking for more and more from the tree. My daughter hated when the boy cut the tree down to build his house. She was in tears when she read that page in the story. She told me that she will never be as mean as that boy . She was infact angry that the boy did not thank the tree even once. I think that this book helped my daughter learn the importance of give and take. I highy recomend readers to read this book to their young ones and also teachers to keep this book in their classrooms. I think it is a great book to share.
mbshus More than 1 year ago
The lessons are great and I first was read this book 30-some odd years ago, in 2nd grade. I've bought it numerous times because the lesson in it is fanastic and actually changes, the older I get.
TGordon More than 1 year ago
I give this book to all new mothers. Both of my kids enjoy it. Great story.
Raye011 More than 1 year ago
One of the Best books ever written. I have purchased this book for both of my children who are now adults and they have handed this book down to their children. This really teaches you about selfishness. Great Book
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first heard this book read at church camp when I was 14, I said that the tree was too unreflectively giving, and the boy was too selfish. It made the adults furious, but today, 23 years later, I stand by what I said. I hate psychological jargon, but this book is a classic example of a destructive co-dependence. The tree never holds the boy accountable for any of his wasteful ways. The boy isn't grateful at the end, just bewildered! The tree is a masochist; the boy is a sociopath. Any parent who sees this book as inspiring isn't thinking straight. Pouring yourself out for some selfish little monster isn't noble, or 'caring' -it's simply a waste! In good literature about family life, BOTH generations can win.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I could give this book a zero I would.  It's message is disturbing on so many levels.  The only positive I see in this book is as a catalyst for discussion about the subjugation of women, the stereotype of the Jewish mother, the selfishness and self-absorption of our culture, and the rape of our environment.  This is NOT a children's book.  It has some deep messages, but I think those who read it at face value are missing the point.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most astonishing book. It is so mean spirited the way the little creepy kid just takes and takes. This book shows a heartless attitude and I hated it. I cannot imagine why it's so popular.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hadn't read it in over 30 years and when I read it to my 5 year old it made me cry. The message is so touching and powerful. Rarely are so few words so moving. Never read it? Haven't read it in years? Pick it up now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I ordered this books based on the extensive media praise. Read it to my 5yr old child. When asked if she wanted to hear the book again, she said 'NO, mommy send it back'. This is coming from a kid insists each new book be read over and over until its memorized. She was quite disturbed by the theme of 'take until no more'
BorgesLovecraft More than 1 year ago
To all the 1/2 star givers and haters of the this book, I say the following: This book is meant to show that some people will take through their nature till there is nothing left to take and some will give (again through their nature) till there is nothing left to give. I too am an educator and I feel this book gives a valid depiction of both sides and it is up to you (the educator or parent) to use the book as a teaching tool and be impartial. I see giving this book 1 or 2 stars because you hated the boy's actions or the tree's attitude as petty as someone giving the quadratic equation or an anti-derivative 1 or 2 stars because you "didn't like doing them or didn't get it" sad.
JERC More than 1 year ago
I first was introduced to Shel Silverstein as a child...reading Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree. I give this book as a git to all my nieces and nephews because of its powerful meaning and the dialogue that can occur between parent and child while reading.
Francisco89 More than 1 year ago
I clearly remember reading this book when I was a child. I really would like to buy this book for my 6 year old sister. I know she will love this book as well.
Bondgirlie More than 1 year ago
Sweet storyline.
LJSIA More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books ever written! I recommend it for any age, even a thirteen year old woulld find this book cute, I am in 4th grade and I still love this book! A 10 out of 10 from me!!!!!!!!!!!!
kinkycalaca More than 1 year ago
This is a book that every child and adult should have in their book case. I love giving this book out as gifts all the time. This book was given to a new wounderful teacher. I know she will use it for years to come.
LauraReviews More than 1 year ago
The Giving Tree has been on my bookshelf since I was 12. My grandmother used to read it to us as children. It's a simple story of a boy who visits a tree that is genuinely always there for him. And it's a timeless story about giving, receiving and love. I could read it every day.
retiredteacherRZ More than 1 year ago
I read this book for the first time when I had my first child and was very impressed with it. I bought one for my class library (elementary school teacher) and recommended it for the school library. I give it as a gift whenever a child's book is called for. It is well written and thought provoking and a good discussion starter for kids of any age. Its meaning can change as the child grows and the thought processes mature. It has become the favorite book of several people to whom I've given it. It is my favorite children's book and a book that even adults can have reasonable discussions about.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has inspired me in every way it could it is a fanstic book and shel could`nt have wrote a better one !
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books even today. I still cry every time I read it. It show the power of giving and teaches people the importance of being kind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unconditional Love, enough said. Every household should have this book. Every person alive should be able to relate to this book
Anonymous 4 months ago
Classic and beautiful story. Shows children the true gift of giving.
j_kellogg84 7 months ago
This is one of my favorite children's books. I loved it as a kid, and still love it today. So when I saw it as a nook book I had to buy it for my son, he enjoys it just as much!
zariahj101 9 months ago
Its a great book . Its teach us a lesson in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book