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The Giving Tree, written by a beloved author, Shel Silverstein, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The story teaches us about the true meaning of happiness and love as we watch a friendship between a boy and a tree span and change over the years.  

In the beginning, we meet the young boy and the tree. The boy spends his days swinging from the tree’s branches, eating her apples, and laying in her shade. The boy loves his friend so much he even carves a little heart into the tree that says “Me and T.” Time went by, and as it did, the boy grew older. He doesn’t visit the tree as often as he used to, which made her sad. 

The “boy” returns when he is a young adult. Eager to have the boy stay, the tree encourages the boy to swing from her branches. 

He replies, “I am too big to climb and play, I want to, but things and have fun, I want some money, can you give me some money?”

Unfortunately, the tree doesn’t have money, but she offers her apples for him to sell in the city. 

“Then you will be happy,” she says. 

The “boy” visits three more times after this, after periods have passed, making the tree sad every time. 

The second time the boy visits, he is a full-fledged adult. Once again, the tree urges him to climb up her trunk and swing from her branches like he used to when he was younger. The boy refuses to do this, saying that he is too old to swing on branches, but would like a wife and children and needs a house to accomplish this. 

Always eager to please the boy, the tree obliges and offers him her branches, saying, “I have no house. The forest is my house. But, cut off my branches and build a house, then you will be happy.” 

As the boy walks away with all of her branches, the tree is happy, because once again, she has helped her friend. 

Let’s take a break for a moment, and I will tell you about this Cook the Book’s recipe! In this installment, we will be making our giving trees! Don’t worry. We can eat these trees!

For this recipe, I need these ingredients: 

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • ¾ cup of flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup buttermilk (If you do not have buttermilk, I mixed apple cider vinegar and almond milk, a great substitute)

  • 2 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter

  • ⅓ cup of hot sauce

Here is the recipe:

  1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash your cauliflower thoroughly, and with your parents’ help, cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces called “florets.”
  3. You will put all of the dry ingredients (flour, paprika, onion and garlic powder, salt) and mix them. You are then going to add your buttermilk into the mix. Stir until it is thick. This will be our batter for the cauliflower!
  4. You are then going to add the florets we cut into our batter. Make sure they are all coated.
  5. Now it is time to put them in the oven! Place your cauliflower on a sheet pan with wax paper. Be careful when you are putting food in the oven. It can burn you, so take your time!
  6. The cauliflower wings will cook for 40 minutes. After twenty minutes, we will flip them over!
  7. Ding!

Mmmmm, these look so good! I am sure this treat will make anyone happy. 

Speaking of happiness, let’s get back to The Giving Tree, shall we?

This short story is not only about a friendship between an apple tree and a boy. There is a lesson regarding love and happiness. We need to be careful with our hearts, and it isn’t a good love if it asks a lot of us or ultimately changes you. Also, love is not material, and it is in moments and making memories, not asking for happiness from someone else. If we did that, we would never be truly happy. Hopefully, both the tree and boy can learn this lesson during the last two visits. 

I hope you enjoy this book by Shel Silverstein. It is a tender story that always teaches a lesson, no matter what age you read it. This book is available in Overdrive, as well as our catalog. 

Now, if you excuse me, I need to eat a whole forest of the giving trees we made!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein