Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Giving Tree

I'm thankful for Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree as both a beautiful story for children, but one that can prompt a variety of discussions between parent and child. Silverstein created a work that is fluid and precise with illustrations that are unforgettable in their charming simplicity.

Most readers are probably already familiar with this book as it is perhaps one of the best known works of children's literature. But change the lens on how you may have interpreted it upon a first reading. It can prompts a few deep and philosophical discussions as there are a variety of interpretations of the work.

Is this simply a story on giving, or unconditional love? Is it a story of how we use our resources with only our own intentions in mind? Is it a story that parallels parental love? Is it a story of selfishness, of complete unselfishness? I can't tell you a final interpretations because that is left entirely up to the reader. I've talked to a few that feel that it is a powerful story of love, and some that are almost angry at the boy in the book as he took from the tree bit by bit until there was nothing left.

I think also sometimes that a final interpretations of this work can depend on where you are at any given moment, how you see the world and what assumptions we bring into the reading.
And yes, this is a book meant for kids. Or is it? All in all I'm thankful for this book that I revisit year after year with a fresh perspective each time. What is your interpretation?

Green readers can enjoy this book individually, or shared with their children. Warning, guaranteed sniffles at the end.


Going Crunchy said... comment love for The Giving Tree.

Green Bean said...

That's too funny! Here's some comment love - I've never actually read it. I know. Don't be shocked. Just because of your post, I think I'll reserve it at the old 'brary.

Going Crunchy said...

Aw, thank you Green Bean. You've made me feel much better.