Last month, Motherlode’s Lisa Belkin blogged about children’s books parents hate. The children’s tale at the center of the discussion: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
For those unfamiliar with the Silverstein classic, the story follows the lifelong friendship between a boy and a tree. As the boy grows up, the tree eagerly gives up what she can (her apples, branches, trunk) to help the boy, because making him happy makes her happy. [Spoiler alert: In the end, the tree continues giving until there is nothing left of her but a stump -- but still, she is happy.]
Belkin (and a surprising number of commenters) took aim at The Giving Tree, arguing that it is a “warped parable” of an unhealthy relationship between a mother and child that sends the wrong message to children. “Parenting should not strip and denude, but rather jointly fulfill. The parasitic part is supposed to end with pregnancy,” she wrote.
Whoa. I definitely missed that interpretation as a kid because I LOVED Shel Silverstein, and The Giving Tree was one of my childhood favorites. (I even included it on my list of Great Books for Preschoolers.)
Although I disagree with Belkin’s stance on The Giving Tree, her post made me curious:
What children’s books do you hate? Is it because you dislike the message or is it a “If I have to read this book aloud one more time, my head will explode” kind of thing?
Check out Mom Congress: Eye on Literacy for 50+ children’s books we love, plus tips on how to get your kid hooked on reading.