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Reconsidering Children's Books

Have you ever gone back and re-read a book you loved as a child only to find it incredibly disturbing now that you're an adult? Like The Giving Tree, for example: a terrifying tale of self-sacrifice or a reassuring story of maternal love?

Answers (245)

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  • Haha! My sister and I were JUST talking about this the other day. About how when we were little we LOVED Dr. Seuss books. But that now we're older and go read one, it's like "Waaaaaaiiiiiiittttt...That's not very kid friendly..."
    Depending on how you see things, if you go read a children's book past the age of like...10 or 15, you're gonna be like "Dude, I do NOT remember it saying stuff like THAT when mom read it to me!"

  • Green Angel was my favorite book when I was younger, but I've recently re-read the story and have totally different opinions about it. Originally, I thought it was just about learning to move on and "all that fun stuff."
    But now I know it's more like: depression, love, survival, reformation, friendship, trust, insanity, finding your way and then learning to not just live, but how to live.... this story to me really opens up my eyes to what happens after tragidies, after the "ohh, poor me".
  • Okay, I'd never encountered Shel Silverstein before I met my wife. She read me 'The Giving Tree' and I was absolutely horrified. I was completely gutted by this one. I think I almost threw up. Probably NOT what Mr. Silverstein was going for. Buster

  • It really just depends on your outlook on life. I try to be as optimistic and happy as possible. So this story is beautiful to me. Of course when I was little it wasn't beautiful... It was happy. It didn't make me want to appreciate everyone there for me in my life, it made we want to plant seeds for a tree so I could play.

    I just associated the tree with my God, my family and my friends. I knew even if I went off to school, or to start a family, or whatever, that they'd be there for me when I came back. And not only to offer what was convenient for them, but rather, everything they had.

    Yes it can be seen tragic in the sense that time passes and yet the tree keeps the same love for the same little boy despite his absence in her life. But it's just showing that there is such a dedication and such a love. But you never really see it, because you never look over a lifetime in a short book which could be typed up into less than half a page.

    All in all, it is beautiful, and it is tragic. But not in a way that hurts. In a way that warms your heart.

  • Yea, the hungry caterpillar. Wow. How much does that thing want to eat?
  • MOST of the books I loved as a kid are rather disturbing but I liked them them and LOVE them now. I was always especially fond of strange drawings, dreary rhymes and violent plots. Example: Struwwelpeter, which not only has harsh, sadistic, scary moral tales for kids, but freaky drawings!
    Example drawing Verse (Translation): But ah, the flame it caught her clothes, Her apron, too; and higher rose; Her hand is burnt, her hair's afire, Consumed is that child entire. And Mintz and Mountz wild crying, The while the child was frying, "Come quick !" they said. "O Sire. Your darling child's afire ! Me-yow ! Me-yo ! Me-yow ! Me-yo ! She's cinders, soot, and ashes, O!
    Now one book I CAN think of that I now find disturbing, in a bad way, is The Little House. It's a classic and I used to love it, but nowadays it reads to me like a metaphor of white flight and suburbanization.
  • i think the giving tree is a perfect example, when i was little, i never really thought too much of it, i just loved shel silversteins drawings and thought the tree was cute. Now when i read it, i just feel so sad, i don't think it was meant to be a reassuring story, i think it's more of how it's human nature to let people walk all over you, but if you love them, it doesnt matter. the tree just wanted the boy to be happy, and the tree sacrificed everything for him, and in the end it meant nothing, cause the boy was unappreciative. that is a perfect example of human behavior, you can never explain why you do the things you do, even if it ends up hurting you. when i hear the story now, i can't help but be mad at the tree. But at the same time, i'm sure everyone has done the same thing, even though they said they wouldn't. i kind of wish i could ask silverstein what he thought the meaning of the story was, i'm sure his answer would be good.

  • fuck yeah i have, THIS book about WAR MSYTERY. Unexplained Mysteries of WWII is filled with fascinating stories, life-saving twists of fate and other mysteries. The author, a military historian, explores intriguing wartime phenomena such as Roosevelt’s meeting with a Nazi agent in the Oval Office, and the turmoil caused by a missing page from a diary. Read about Churchill’s premonition, Mamie Eisenhower’s prediction and other chilling experiences. Hardcover. 238 pages. see when i first read it i was like lol whatever private ryan but then i read it again? i was on a bus. and man this shit is $$$FUCKED UP$$$, did you know that if it werebn't for ghosts (probably) wed all be spekaing german or maybe japanese or maybe jsyt be dead? true story this book is 60% off right now ;)
  • I so love The Giving Tree. I Read that book countless of time when I was a kid. The Berenstein Bears is one of my favorite Children's book. Oh and Miss Nelson Is Missing too :D
    Greeting from Miss Viola Swamp!
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