100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

ANSWERED: Burning Question of the Day (#1)

The Giving Tree

Last week I asked an important question. Today, we have the results:

Giving Tree Results

Whew, glad that’s been settled forever. Thank you to everyone who voted.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. You seem to be carefully not taking sides?
    Given the inflammatory responses (especially mine), I can’t say that I blame you…. :)

  2. Penni Davis says:

    So sad. The vote proved to me that, yes indeed we do live in a greedy, selfish world. “The Giving Tree” was loved by my class and by the parents. My granddaughters begged me to read it. Too bad it can’t be accepted for the sweet story it is!!

  3. This vote is a pretty small sample size, coming from book people at that, so it might not reflect a more national sentiment. I feel like how people interpret The Giving Tree says more about what they want/expect from books than the quality or intent of the story. If you think that all books for children should present an outlook of the world in which all relationships are healthy relationships OR that all problems get resolved, then this book may make you feel uncomfortable. You could view the book from a completely ecological angle. You can view the events sentimentally or pessimistically, but no one can argue with the fact the end of this story strikes a bittersweet chord and one that has some kind of honesty in it. I believe that Shel Silverstein’s goal was to make his reader feel something and to make them think about life; how one gives and how one takes. In that regard, this is a great book. If you come away thinking that it is a how-to manual for parenting or love, then you are missing the point.

  4. Falls in line with many of Shel Silverstein’s serial drawigns – a bit wry, beutifully observed human nature. And if it leaves the reader thinking, or uncomfortable, so much the better.

  5. The world is greedy and selfish because we don’t like a story about a greedy and selfish little boy? :) I have come to think it’s actually a better relationship if you don’t let the other person chop you down into a stump. Better for both of you. :)