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I briefly remember reading a few of Shel Silversteins most popular reads like The Giving Tree from when I was a kid. What I remember most clearly are his illustrations. The giving tree is both sad and ambiguous. The Giving Tree is one of the most discussed children’s books of all time. Featuring a boy and a tree, the plot centers on both characters growing up and the boy having less and less time for the tree but more and more need for what the tree can give him. Eventually the tree allows itself to be chopped down to make lumber for a boat so the boy can go sailing. Years later, the boy returns as an old man, and the tree says, “I’m sorry, boy… but I have nothing left to give you.” The boy says, “I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest.” The tree then says, “Well, an old tree stump is a good place for sitting and resting. Come, boy, sit down and rest.” The boy sits, making the tree once again happy to serve him.
Shel’s line drawings are a prime example why I love simple line illustrations. They are so simplistic but beautiful. Im all for noticing detail and although if you look at the illustrations quickly you might over look the details but they are there. Correlating the illustrations with the poems makes Shel Silvertein that much more interesting as an author and artist. He doesn’t just focus on one or the other because he has the talent to create with words and line. I think he was definitely a creative soul that deserves lot of credit and admiration simply because he gives you a reason to look at life upside down.
Here I have attached a couple of Shel’s poems and illustrations. I hope you take the time to read them because they are worth the time.