How I Ruined The Giving Tree

Now that I work part time, Tuesday mornings are spent with the twins at the library for story time. We all pick out children’s books to take home. During an early visit, I found The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. “Oh, babies, this is one of Mommy’s favorite books.”

The next morning, I started reading it to the boys over breakfast. As the boys were just shy of three, I explained the pages to the boys. “Look, she gives him her apples. Look, her branches.” Then the tree started to give things that could no longer be replenished. I started tearing up. I tried to explain it to the boys – “The tree loves the boy so much, that she gives him all she has, until there is nothing left, because she wants him to be happy.” And then I was bawling. Clearly when I had read this book in earlier years, I was identifying more with the boy (or watching as an observer just appreciating the tale). Suddenly, I was totally the tree.

And the boys started saying “Put it away! Put it away!” and describing it as “The bad book that made Mommy cry.” Sigh. We’ll try again in a few years.


Have you shared a beloved story only to have it go awry?