爱心树 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my childhood favorites, and I’m so grateful to get to enjoy it with my kids! When my daughter was 2, I read the timeless tale to her in English. After asking me to read it over and over again, it was one of the first stories that she could recite by heart. Recently, we read the Chinese translation, and my daughter was mesmerized all over again! I have so much to say about The Giving Tree in this review. Keep scrolling for more photos, my daughter’s reading video, plus an easy activity based on the Giving Tree book!
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爱心树 The Giving Tree Book Review
Title: 爱心树 The Giving Tree
Author: Shel Silverstein
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Age level: All ages
Where to buy:
- Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787544268226
- China Sprout
- Traditional Chinese / ISBN: 9780060256654
- English / ISBN: 9780060256654
- English – Slipcase Mini Edition / ISBN: 9780060284510
Audio Narration: You can hear this story in Mandarin Chinese on Ximalaya FM here! However, for this story, I could not find a good quality narration. This recording might be the best, but the quality is not quite as crisp as others. However, I prefer this one over other narrators that read in a rather fast and unemotional way! Given the content of this story, I think a slower, thoughtful pace is warranted.
An apple tree is the friend of little boy who enjoys climbing her trunk, swinging from the branches, eating her apples, and resting in her shade. The boy and the tree love each other’s company and are so happy. Simple line illustrations show the boy growing older over time, and his childhood bliss is replaced with worldly concerns. The generous tree is not able to keep up with the child’s increasing needs and essentially gives all of herself until she becomes a stump, cut down to the heart “M.E.+T” that the boy once carved into the tree. At last, the boy returns as an old man who needs to sit and rest, knowing that she is always there for him.
I love this story because you can interpret it in many ways. To me, the relationship may be analogous to how our kids will someday grow up and leave us when they start their own lives. I also see an analogy to how we treat Mother Nature. With our modern consumption of resources, we are using up nature, often for fleeting interests.
爱心树 The Giving Tree Comparison of Chinese & English Versions
As you will see in the photos, the illustrations are exactly the same in both books. However, the font in the English book is slightly larger and thus easier to read. Notice the artistic orientation of the text “and he would gather her leaves 采集叶子.”
Here is a comparison of the book jackets side by side. This English mini slipcase version has a woven, hardcover sleeve, while the Chinese version is a glossy paper jacket. However, most English versions are like the Chinese edition.
Video of my daughter reading 爱心树 The Giving Tree
Here is a candid video of my daughter reading The Giving Tree in Mandarin Chinese. Mid-way through the video, she hesitates on the word 幢 (zhuàng / measure word for house) because the Ximalaya narration that we listened to was unclear, and she wasn’t sure if the narrator said zhòng.
爱心树 The Giving Tree Matching Game – A Book-Based Activity!
What you need for the matching game:
- Green Post-It Notes
How to set up The Giving Tree matching game:
- Cut out tree shape
- Write 2 sets of words on green Post-It Notes
- Scatter first set of words across the tree
- Match second set of words to the first set
In the pictures below, you can see that we matched traditional Chinese characters to simplified Chinese characters. However, you can match the same characters together or different languages together (eg, Chinese/Korean or Chinese/English, etc).
Obviously, this matching game can be done without the cardboard tree, but it’s an easy way to give context to word review!
I would also like to point out that when we do these reviews, we often include words that my daughter already knows. This way she has some confidence about “easy” words going into tha activity!
Word matching is now complete!
Later, my daughter wrote the book title on the tree!
In summary, I highly recommend 爱心树 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and I know it is one that my kids and I will revisit from year after year. I look forward to seeing my daughter’s perspective mature when we revisit the book and other literary works by Shel Silverstein in the future.
Where to buy Chinese books for kids
For more Chinese book recommendations for kids, please visit and bookmark this link of our favorite books! Every week, I will be adding book reviews to this website!
If you’re wondering where to buy Chinese books for children, please click here for a list of the most popular online bookstores!
Chinese audiobooks for kids
For free Chinese audiobooks for children, check out:
- Free Chinese Audiobooks for Children on Ximalaya 喜马拉雅
- How to Use Ximalaya FM When You Can’t Read Chinese
Recommended articles about how to teach kids Chinese
If you need tips on how to teach your child Chinese, these posts are for you!
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent
- 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Read Throughout the Day
- 6 Fun Ways to Assess Reading Comprehension With Kids!
Bilingual English and Chinese Facebook Parent Group
As always, please leave a comment with any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them! Or better yet, please join our Facebook group! Montessori-inspired Kids Learning Chinese and English is a community of parents worldwide who are excited to share bilingual book recommendations, Montessori tips, and learning materials!
Happy reading, friends!