The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is about a boy and a tree (apparently a female tree) and they are good friends when the boy is a child. However, as the boy grows older he asks a great deal of the tree and the tree only wants to see him be happy so she willingly gives him what he asks for until she is nothing more than a stump. In the end the boy returns as an old man to visit the tree (or rather the stump at this point) and the tree has nothing left to give him except a place to sit and rest which is exactly what the boy needs and in the end they are both happy.
APA Reference of Book:
Silverstein, Shel (1964). The Giving Tree.New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
I enjoyed the book overall. It is well written and teaches a lesson or two to young children. I found it rather sad though as the boy just takes and takes from the tree without giving anything in return and I truly felt sorry for the tree as she only wants to see the boy happy, but he only ever visits when he wants something. It isn’t a healthy relationship the two of them share, but in the end they are both happy so I suppose it all works out for the best in the end.
“‘The Giving Tree,’ I was surprised to discover is a great book. I didn’t remember it that way because too many people had told me about it since I’d last read it…’The Giving Tree’ is in part a disturbing tale of unconditional love, in part a tender tale of the monsters that we are.” – Galchen, Rivka (2014, Sep. 30). The Giving Tree’: Tender Story of Unconditional Love or Disturbing Tale of Selfishness? [Review of the book The Giving Tree]. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/books/review/the-giving-tree-tender-story-of-unconditional-love-or-disturbing-tale-of-selfishness.html
The only thing I can see this book being used for in a library (other than casual reading) is to teach children life lessons about selfishness and being too giving or overly considerate of someone’s feelings without takeing your own into consideration. It could also be used to show a negative give and take relationship and teach children how to properly interact with others.