There is a tree on the playground that is old and big. Its branches dip down. Each one seems to have a mind of its own. The boughs sway and reach, and children look up.
I wonder if the tree loves the children. The children love the tree.
Trees are one of nature’s greatest teachers and also givers.
Shel Silverstein made that connection with trees decades ago. His book, The Giving Tree is both beloved and revered.
My copy is well loved and well worn. I have read the words aloud to children (and to myself) more times than I can count.
Thank you, Dana, for giving me this book. You knew it was a treasure.
The story is timeless. A tree loves a boy, and the boy loves the tree. The beginning pages read:
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 up her trunk
and swing from her branches
and eat apples.
And they would play hide-and-go-seek.
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.
Those words set the stage for the story. I have only shown you a few of the illustrations. Every line in the book has an illustration. Yes, and each one is just as simple and powerful. The tree keeps giving as the boy grows up… well, you need to read the book. While it’s a children’s book, it pierces the heart of adults. It reminds them of all that matters, all that made them feel good.
Everyone needs to read this book.
The trees all around as I drive and walk seem to have low, bowing branches, much like the tree at school. Everywhere I look, trees are reaching down… or reaching out, like The Giving Tree.
I am continuing my reading aloud to Miles as he recovers from his brain injury this summer. I posted his story August 24th, “Reading Aloud to the Rescue.” This week, the tree in his front yard had the same branches. How could that be? I asked Miles and his sister to stand by the branch so I could snap a picture.
Your greatness is not what you have, but what you give. –Winnie the Pooh-