Somebody’s moving up in the world. At last count Silverstein’s most divisive book was low at #93. Now it has climbed the ranks to a respectable #85. And there we have it. One of the most divisive books in children’s literature. To my mind, you are either a Giving Tree fan or you loathe and abhor it. My husband is a fan. In fact, if you get him at a party he will explain at length how subversive the title is, and how Silverstein is playing with the reader and isn’t serious about the tree’s “giving”. Others prefer to take the book at face value, finding it to be a tale of self-sacrifice and parenthood. The story, just in case you are unfamiliar with it, is about a tree and the boy it loves. The boy takes apples, wood, and eventually everything from the tree itself, and it is happy with the process.
It is also notable for this infamous author photo of Mr. Silverstein on the back. Those of you who read the third Diary of a Wimpy Kid book will remember the passage where Greg’s dad kept him from getting out of bed at night by threatening him with the back of The Giving Tree, telling him Shel Silverstein would get him if he left his room. You can see it here in this image of Tracy Morgan.
And you’re in luck folks. There’s now a video out there of the book as read by the author himself:
To say nothing of the perhaps-not-workplace-friendly Sassy Gay Friend edition.