Saturday, August 29, 2009

Take a Look, It's in a Book

You might have heard that after 26 years on PBS, Reading Rainbow aired its last episode this week. As an overly nostalgic, progressively educated 26-year-old, I am saddened by this news. Reading Rainbow didn't teach children to read; rather it taught children to love to read. This got me thinking about some of my favorite children's books, and among them is the Shel Silverstein classic, The Giving Tree. Just like the title character, this book offers me different things as I grow older and learn new things. When I was little, it was a simple story of a tree who loved and supported a boy as he grew into a man. When I was a teenager, it irked me as a disturbing allegory of a woman who gave all of herself to a man and received little in return. Lately, I see it as a commentary on shifting priorities in life and, with more recent study, as a testament to humankind's dependence on nature to preserve our way of life.

For those of you who don't own a copy of The Giving Tree, you can find the 1973 animated version narrated by the author here. Enjoy.

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