YVO’S SHORTIES #59 – The Giver & The Giving Tree

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two ‘giving’ stories and two modern classics… The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I probably would have enjoyed these better if I would have read them a long time ago, because at this point they didn’t make the impact I thought they would.


Title: The Giver
(The Giver #1)
Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: April 26th 1993
Publisher: Ember
Finished reading: October 28th 2018 
Pages: 208

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”


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Warning: unpopular opinion ahead… First of all, I have to say that I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot better if I would have read it 15-20 year ago. I have been meaning to read this so-called modern classic for years, and I think the story itself has a bigger impact on younger readers than adults. That said, the worldbuilding and story of The Giver reminded me a bit of Brave New World with a new twist. It was quite an interesting take on a dystopian world, where everything is controlled in such a way everything seems the same. This contrast with Jonas and his experiences once he starts training as a Receiver on its own is fascinating. Especially as he starts discovering more about his world and his eyes are truly opened… But somehow, I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would. This is probably just me and not the story, especially since this modern classic is so loved. I’m glad I did finally read The Giver though, as I finally know exactly what the story is all about.


Title: The Giving Tree
Author: Shel Silverstein

Genre: Children, Picture Book, Fiction
First published: October 7th 1964
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: October 30th 2018
Pages: 64

“… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.”


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I have been meaning to read this picture book classic for ages now… When I came across my copy the other day I picked it up on a whim. I can see the appeal of The Giving Tree, where the tree is like a mother to the little boy, and the writing style is spot on and really flows. BUT. I did have my doubts about the message behind this story. Why? Well, the tree isn’t exactly treated with respect and only gives and gives and gives without ever receiving much in return… Not exactly a healthy relationship I would want to show to my kids. Especially since this message is never questioned and even when the little boy grows up to be old the relationship still doesn’t feel equal. Maybe I’m overthinking this, but it still made me feel slightly uncomfortable as children tend to soak up everything like a sponge.


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BOOK REVIEW: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – by Roald Dahl

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Title: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
(Charlie Bucket Series #1)
Author: Roald Dahl
Genre: Children, Fantasy, Fiction
First published: 1964
Finished reading: January 31st 2015
Pages: 189
Rating 3,5

“Mr. Wonka: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.”
Charlie Bucket: “What happened?”
Mr. Wonka: “He lived happily ever after.”

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I was looking for something interesting to watch on TV the other day when I bumped into the Johnny Depp version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. I immediately started craving both chocolate and a Roald Dahl reread… And I decided to just give into both temptations. I’ve always loved Dahl‘s books as a kid and while this reread as an adult takes away some of its magic, there is no doubt I would read this to my hypothetical child. This is the perfect book for funny voices and reading out loud to kids! Plus, it’s about the most amazing chocolate factory ever, and who doesn’t like something sweet? 3.5 stars for the high nostalgic factor and great prose for children. The excessive use of exclamation marks does become annoying when you read it as an adult, beware!

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Willy Wonka is finally opening his world famous chocolate factory, but under one condition: only five children and two of their relatives will be allowed inside. Wonka has hidden five golden tickets inside his chocolate bars, and soon the world is going crazy trying to find the tickets. Soon four tickets were found; the first a fat boy named Augustus Gloop, the second a spoiled brat named Veruca Salt, the third Violet Beauregarde the gum-chewer and the last Mike Teavea, the boy who doesn’t like chocolate but loves his TV. Poor Charlie Bucket didn’t have the same chances at finding the golden ticket. His family is only able to buy him one chocolate bar a year, but luck is finally at his side. The day before the factory visit, he finds money on the street and when he uses it to buy chocolate he finds the golden ticket! He and his grandpa are now going inside the factory as well, and they will never be hungry again with the lifetime supply of chocolate Willy Wonka gives to all five winners. And that is not all; at the end of the visit Willy Wonka will pick one child that wins a special prize!

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Charlie And The Chocolate Factory brings back great memories. Even though I did enjoy the novel less as an adult, this is still without doubt a perfect book to read with or to children. There are a lot of funny moments and the prose perfect for kids. Recommended!