Scroll down to see my edits, changes, adjustments I made to The Giving Tree
I'm confused about The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, do I like it, do I hate it? There are aspects I really like, such as how useful the tree is and how generous. The story shares how the tree gives a boy her love, her branches to play on, leaves to play with, shade to cool off under, apples to make money, branches to build a house, trunk to make a boat, and when the tree has nothing left but a stump the tree offers the stump to the boy who is now an old man to sit on and rest...but the boy never once says thank you.
That REALLY pisses me off. Yes the title of the book is The Giving Tree, but when I read this book to my son I'm sharing with him a book about just asking for and getting stuff...Stuff that really helped the boy out. Ummm, I don't think that's the story I want to share because being a decent human being is noticing what people give you whether it be material or just their time, and being grateful for it.
Maybe it's meant to be a story, an analogy, of a parent giving everything to their child? Loving the child and wanting him happy, okay, I get it, but what about teaching the child through the book about loving back and being thankful and appreciating what you are given.
I decided to give the book a little makeover, I added a message about being thankful, grateful and appreciative.
So with my Sharpie I edited The Giving Tree this weekend, adding some words, crossing off others and changing the ending.... now I can read it to my son and feel good about it.
You are welcome to use this as a guide if you want to edit the book as well for your baby's at home library.
Obviously these changes are very rough, they are written like notes to me while I read the book to my son.
Although we might really like certain aspects of a book, I for one, am the type of Mom and Reader that will grab my Sharpie and make the book more special or meaningful if needed. Without these edits, honestly I would toss the book because it's not enough for me for the boy to be given things that changed his life in great ways without taking a second to say thank you so much.
The Giving Tree starts with...
Once there was a tree...
and she loved a little boy.
And every day the boy would come
and he would gather her leaves
and make them into crowns
and play king of the forest.
He would climb her trunk
and swing from her branches
and eat apples.
And they would play
And when he was tired,
he would sleep
in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree...
And the tree was happy.
But time went by.
And the boy grew older.
And the tree was often alone.
Okay, I can make it that far. But then I had to add and adjust.
The boy doesn't seem that old here...maybe a teenager or young adult, so most teens and young adult wouldn't be "too big to climb and play (chill)." Besides, no one should ever be too old to climb and have fun! I still want to climb trees! If your body allows you to climb you should be climbing and never let yourself be to old to enjoy the little joys of life. Also I thought the boy should show a sense of missing the tree since he's been away so long, so I added that.
The boy climbs the tree afterall but doesn't express his thankfulness for the apples from the tree, so I added that.
I added that the boy was thankful for the branches that will help him build his house and left the tree bare.
The tree has offered the boy everything she is made of and it would be nice if the boy was surprised and appreciated the tree's generosity.
The boy has been away for a long time and doesn't share with the tree where he's been and how he's been doing on his boat made of her trunk so I added a line about him sharing his adventures with her.
This page makes the old man seem like a grump, so a light hearted "That's okay," gives a softer and kinder appeal to the old man's relationship with the tree.
Next I wanted the boy to remember that the tree has nothing to give because she's already given him so much, so I added for the boys thoughts "You've already given me so much..."
I'm not happy with the book ending with the tree happy, because it's not just about the tree, it's about the boy and that he has learned something and experienced something profound, a friendship, an appreciation for the tree in his life.
And the Mom was happy.
Isobella & Phoenix