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Negative characters (the young man in "The Giving Tree")

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The giving tree is probably one of the best selling and rated PBs. It is very touching.

While after reading many reviews of the interpretation of this book (including the opinion of myself), I have a question about the young men.  He always take, but never gives back. It is bothering me as it could be a negative example for kids. The character is well-depicted, and makes the book more like an issue-raising book. Would kids be able to understand the deep meaning behind?

Can someone share you opinion of this book and help better understanding it?

Thank you !
#1 - October 25, 2017, 11:09 AM

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I think you'll find that people have very strong opinions about this book. Some love it and others hate it. I'm in the hate camp because the boy takes and takes and takes until he grows into a man and still he takes. I think it is his lack of understanding of what a beautiful and giving tree it is even at the end that I cannot stand. If he could only do one unselfish thing, one sacrificial thing in his whole life, it would have redeemed the book for me.

Vijaya
#2 - October 25, 2017, 11:31 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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I agree with Vijaya. I don't like it and I've also never understood why people think it's lovely. I never read it to my kids when they were little.
#3 - October 25, 2017, 12:39 PM

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I'm with V and JFriday. Not my favorite book.
#4 - October 25, 2017, 02:06 PM

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Ask an editor what they think about this book at a conference. We don't like it! If there's an editor who does, I haven't met her yet. IMO, BOTH the boy and the tree are unhealthy--it's basically a story about an unhealthy relationship.

And don't get me started about Love You Forever...
#5 - October 25, 2017, 02:10 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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Thank you, Vijaya, JFriday and Harold. I just checked the sales of this book, so far in 2017, over 13,000 copies were sold on Amazon alone. Maybe it is because the author is Shel Silverstein I guess, or people are reading it to themselves, not the kids ?   Interesting and weird case.
#6 - October 25, 2017, 03:37 PM

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And don't get me started about Love You Forever...

I know ....
#7 - October 25, 2017, 03:40 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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I'm with you all. Not my favorite book, either. And I'm guessing that if it were submitted in today's time, it'd be a no.

I just checked the sales of this book, so far in 2017, over 13,000 copies were sold on Amazon alone.

Wow, that's some big numbers. How did you find this out? Curious minds want to know.  :grin3

#8 - October 25, 2017, 07:24 PM
'Vehicle Dreams Series' Running Press Kids
Race Car Dreams 2016
Bulldozer Dreams 2017
Fire Truck Dreams 2018
The Sparrow and The Trees- Arbordale 2015

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I'm with you all. Not my favorite book, either. And I'm guessing that if it were submitted in today's time, it'd be a no.

Wow, that's some big numbers. How did you find this out? Curious minds want to know.  :grin3



I'm with you all. Not my favorite book, either. And I'm guessing that if it were submitted in today's time, it'd be a no.

Wow, that's some big numbers. How did you find this out? Curious minds want to know.  :grin3



I'm with you all. Not my favorite book, either. And I'm guessing that if it were submitted in today's time, it'd be a no.

Wow, that's some big numbers. How did you find this out? Curious minds want to know.  :grin3





Novelrank.com    It tracks sales of books on amazon worldwide.

#9 - October 25, 2017, 07:31 PM

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Keep in mind that the book is old. I also don't think it would sell today. I had friends who loved it growing up. I think it is comforting for some kids, showing that unconditional love really exists. But it is the most unhealthy relationship. Even parents who give a kid a kidney should get a hug back once in a while.
#10 - October 25, 2017, 07:57 PM

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Novelrank.com    It tracks sales of books on amazon worldwide.

Cool! I didn't know that. Thanks!
#11 - October 25, 2017, 08:10 PM
'Vehicle Dreams Series' Running Press Kids
Race Car Dreams 2016
Bulldozer Dreams 2017
Fire Truck Dreams 2018
The Sparrow and The Trees- Arbordale 2015

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Even parents who give a kid a kidney should get a hug back once in a while.
Exactly...
#12 - October 26, 2017, 07:10 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

I remember reading an article about this book and Silverstein's publisher did not want to publish it at all.  It took much convincing from Silverstein and others for them to go along with it.  Personally, it leaves me a bit unsettled, but I like it. 

As for LOVE YOU FOREVER, mentioned by Pons, I truly do not care for that book at all - it creeps me out. I read an interview with Munsch and he said he wrote the book as a way of healing from losing a child, and was shocked to find that it's the greatest selling children's book of all time.  At least it was a few years ago.

#13 - October 27, 2017, 02:20 PM

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I understand the unhealthy relationship aspect that has been referred to here. However, I actually love this book.  My interrpretation is that it is a metaphor for the parent-child relationship. As parents we give unconditional love to our children. We want them to be happy and successful in their lives. The tree, remembering the love it has for the child, gives without question or need for reciprocation. Just as parents do. I actually tear up many times at the end because it reminds me of how I would do anything for my children. 
As our children grow up they need the parent less and less. Kids become impatient adults who think their parent doesn't understand them. Sometimes the parent becomes a burden. Through it all the parent stays firm and steady...giving and loving.
The boy does take and take but he always comes back. In the end he needs the tree and the tree is happy to be there in what ever form. 
I am a total sap because when I think about this I think about my children when they are very old and I hope they can find comfort in the memory of me.
#14 - November 08, 2017, 10:03 AM

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