Has The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein always bothered you? When I was a kid, my brother and I devoured the Shel Silverstein poetry books, such as Where the Sidewalk Ends. Quirky things like a little girl who eats and entire elephant didn’t bother me.

But I remember my mom really, really didn’t like The Giving Tree, and she explained why. You know why, if you’ve read it. The boy in the store just takes and takes and takes and at the end all that’s left of the tree is a stump.

It’s always baffled me that people like that book, because it’s well, creepy and disturbing and if the tree is an allegory for a mother, well, that’s not how you treat your mother.

So I was delighted to see this parody book on the shelf at the library today!

I told my mom about the book and she found this excellent write up, Why I Hate the Giving Tree by Jennifer Ziegler. Thanks, Jennifer for putting it into words for me so clearly!


Her article, and The Taking Tree book are for parents (even though it’s in the kid’s section), The Taking Tree is definitely dark, but on the other hand, it does really clearly state, again and again, “this kid is a jerk,” (of the boy in the book) which is true!

The two books could be used together to encourage some conversations with kids about healthy boundaries and mutual respect!