Title: The Taking Tree: A Selfish Parody
Author: Shrill Travesty
Illustrator: Lucy Ruth Cummins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Concepts: wants versus needs, greed.
Review: As a staple of school, library, and home bookshelves around the world, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree has generated lively discussions for decades about why a selfless tree would keep giving to a child who gave nothing in return. Now Shrill Travesty’s The Taking Tree has given readers some bitingly sarcastic insight into the motives of the boy and the tree. The boy is pure evil, using the tree’s acorns to whip at old people when he was little and stripping the tree of all its branches to build a house when he became a greedy businessman, only to burn the house down for the insurance money. The tree hates the boy from the start and later gets even.
Just as the original Giving Tree offered parents and teachers the opportunity to talk with children about wants versus needs, this follow-up parody encompasses the same lesson, albeit with a heavy dose of cynicism, a touch of political satire, and a stroke of humor.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children