By way of a brief recap, “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein, begins “Once there was a tree . . . and she loved a little boy.”
For the next 60 pages that little boy takes and takes and takes from the tree — selling her apples when he needs money, chopping off her branches when he needs shelter, cutting down her trunk when he needs a boat to sail far away. In the end, the boy is an old man, and he comes back to the tree and sits on her. Which, we are told, makes her happy.
When the comments started piling up, Josh asked to write a defense of this book that his son loves. “To me it speaks to the extremes of parental love,” he wrote in an e-mail. “How you’ll strip yourself of everything for your kids.” READ MORE