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Parent reviews for The Giving Tree

Common Sense says

Classic, sensitive parable about selflessness.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 13 reviews
Adult Written byTanni December 6, 2008

I luv it

I really recommend this book.. That's really true and make me cry Luv it
Parent of a 2 year old Written byCigana_24 January 23, 2010

Great for all ages above 4, even adults

I came across this book as an adult and while the book is written for children, the message is a universal one: Selfless love. I couldn't help crying when I got to the end--Silverstein's gentle prose is poetic and inspiring. The book opens a forum for parents to talk to their children about responsible love, giving of self, Mother nature, etc. I plan on buying the book for my godchild when he turns 4; this way we'll be able to talk about the book's message.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bykabahuss April 9, 2008

must have

Little tikes can read but it will take the older child to actually understand the message... I still cry when I read this one...
Parent Written bysuperheromom April 14, 2016

Awful!

This is probably the number one of my top-10 worst kids books ever written. It's about how an insensitive, masochist and selfish little boy's lack of empathy for a forever-giving tree ends up ruining her life and destroying her existence. The tree gives gifts of unconditional love and sacrifice and the boy just takes them, consuming them with no signs of gratitude, empathy or compassion. He takes advantage and manipulates the poor tree to keep giving to no end, sacrificing "herself" for the boy and being used by him with no second thoughts on the consequences of her sacrifice. This revolting cycle of unilateral giving and unilateral taking keeps escalating until the tree is reduced to a stump. Still, seeing the tree in that miserable state, the boy manages to use it once more! There is absolutely no connection between the characters throughout the story. Nothing there to teach a young kid either.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 2 and 14 year old Written bybugmenot April 5, 2015

No. Just no.

"The Giving Tree" is in that notorious gray area. Too deep for young kids. Too simplistic for older kids. On one hand, it's about a selfless host/donor, and an abusive parasite, presented under the guise of an emotional children's story. On the other hand, the text is so simplistic, it's downright patronizing to anyone over the age of 6. Simply put, it's neither here nor there. If you let your kids read it, wait at least until they're in high school, when they're old enough to understand just how kitschy this story is. For something that's both child-friendly and emotional enough to make a grown man cry, read them "Old Yeller". It has both action and spirit. Mr. Silverstein, you've written some good books, but you dropped the ball with this one.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Consumerism
Parent of a 7 year old Written byeswanson April 9, 2008

Makes mommy cry...

Don't know what it is abt this book but it makes me want to cry. My 4 yo loves it but doesn't get the poinancy. If I've had a tough day, I ask him to pick a different book! Overall, good book but if you cry at Kodak commericals, you may want to read this by yourself a few times.
Adult Written bycarlw1 January 18, 2016

Giving Too Much

The boy grows and evolves to a thoughtless old man taking--never giving, or learning what it means to give. The tree is a resource, perhaps like a parent or friend, but also an enabler with no boundaries, who gives without thought and without questioning the consequences of that giving to either itself or the boy/man. And the boy/man never learns to give back, never learns to love in return--just takes-- and the tree never learns of its true value as a living thing, deserving of love in return for what it is, rather than something to take from. Martyrs do not make good parents or friends. Neither do takers.
Adult Written byLisaZowy November 9, 2011

Many Lessons for Young Readers

This book is one of my favorites. I like to give it to friends along with a box of Kleenex at Christmas time. To me... the book ignites and provokes many feelings. The tree is a friend and comfort to the boy, but as he grows he has no need for her as a playmate... Now he needs her to provide, but he doesn't just take... she gives, and gives... She loves the boy so much that she only wants to see him happy; the way he was as a child. The boy seems to share his love for the tree his entire life -even when he carves into the tree-. It was symbolic from every angle. As long as a parent can explain the book to a child I think it's perfect for all ages. I read it alone when I was in kindergarten. I always disliked the boy for what he did to the tree; I felt that he was killing her. Now that I am older I see that he always came back to her and they really did love each other. I agree with the initial review that the tree was a bit masochistic... okay... maybe over the top masochistic. My book comes out Spring of 2012 it's called Dream of the Daffodil also perfect for all children.
Adult Written bygrandma Martha June 8, 2012

A book for all ages.

Sometimes I think it is more of a story for parents who need to realize that their children will grow up, will have different needs, will move away, etc. But, through unconditional love, they can either be important in their childrens' lives or they (the parents) may find themselves unhappy as their children develop their wings and learn to live their lives in this world of ours. It's a story for children, however parents can use the symbolism as they look forward in their lives, too.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent Written byfulltimemom88 November 4, 2010
If the kids are sensitive about nature or are emotional, this book might appear disturbing as the Tree is a character who speaks and has feelings gets slowly chopped down. The upside to this book is its lesson of selfless love, such as a loving parent's love for a child. A book to read with the kids from time to time as they grow up.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byLT579 September 22, 2018

Not for Children

This is not a children's book. I don't think the author ever intended it to be a children’s book. It deals with themes and ideas either beyond children's understanding or very disturbing to them. I remember reading it 35 years ago as a kindergartener and it was a scaring experience. I cried and couldn't understand why the man would abuse and kill the tree. Please stop reading this book to children.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byGamer4056 June 7, 2018

The Giving Tree Parent Guide

This book is good and very touching. It shows people what a tree could do if it knew how to talk and hand stuff to people in a friendly way. It is a little violent. The tree allows the human to cut off her parts to create what he needs. Later on, she is a stump. She is almost gone. Then, POOF!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness