From Publishers Weekly
This isn't the first parodic tweak of Shel Silverstein's classic, but it certainly sets a new standard of blithe snarkiness. "The tree was his best friend," writes the nom-de-plumed Travesty of the bratty protagonist. "Which shows what a loser the kid was." The tree, which frankly hates the child (who only gets meaner with age), feels hostage to his selfish and often criminal bidding ("he couldn't get away from him. She was a tree"). Blisteringly sarcastic throughout (when the boy asks for the tree's apples to pay for college, she responds, "I'm an oak tree.... When have you ever seen me grow apples?"), the tree finally embraces the full meaning of "passive-aggressive. "he took the kid's credit cards and ordered a bunch of DVDs she had no intention of watching. And she took the kid's cell phone and called the cops." Debut illustrator Cummins's deadpan cartooning never flags (one visual joke takes aim at the 2008 Republican presidential ticket); her addition of a scraggly and highly expressive mouth to the beleaguered tree's otherwise featureless trunk makes the fear and loathing even funnier. All ages. (Oct.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2–In this parody of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree (HarperCollins, 1964), the relationship between the tree and the boy is not as loving this time around. The boy is “a real jerk” whom the tree detests. He pokes his sister with twigs, throws acorns at old people, and takes leaves from the tree and sets them on fire. Each time the kid goes away–usually to jail–the tree is happy. And it is not so willing to sacrifice itself for someone who, as he grows older, is never satisfied. “Are you out of your mind?” it asks. “You took everything you could take. And I can't take it anymore!” While ultimately the tree fares no better, those who were disturbed by the original version will appreciate that the boy's outcome is equally grim. Charcoal illustrations evoke Silverstein's style, with watercolor accents to brighten the pages. While adults are the typical audience for parodies, children who enjoy stories a bit off-kilter will find this one intriguing. As fans of Roald Dahl know, seeing the truly evil get their comeuppance makes for a satisfying book.–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, ORα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.