What will you give if you have nothing left in you? What can you share if you have nothing else to give? In one of his most notable children’s book, The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein presents the classic story of giving and sacrificing oneself for the sake another.
Published in 1964, the story follows the friendship between a little boy and an apple tree. Theirs show a delicate pattern, a relationship that may seem ideal at first glance. The author created the illustrations in the book himself, and depicted a relationship that is borne out of love and all its sincerity. He began the story when the boy was still a young kid.
The boy would play with the tree its leaves, its branches. The tree loved the boy’s company, and it found happiness in giving him what he wanted.
As the boy grew to become a young adult, a family man, and a chap of old age, he would come visit the tree, most of the time feeling unsatisfied with what he had, and all the time asking the tree to give him something new to his life. Whether it was money or a house, he asked for it from the tree. For all those times, the tree would relentlessly give in to the wishes of the boy it had always loved dearly. It gave its fruits, its trunk, until it was left to nothing but a stump.
Through very simple sentences and dialogues crafted in tenderness, the author was able to mirror the kind of love a mother has for her child one that incessantly gives without expecting anything in return. While telling its readers how a mother loves unconditionally, the author also quietly illustrates the child’s role in their relationship’ one that only seeks and receives – and lets the readers empathize with the giving tree.
This gentle yet touching story is a timeless reminder to kids of all ages the most genuine act of love giving.