The Giving Tree (1964)

Posted by

First Edition Identification

The Giving Tree, written & illustrated by Shel Silverstein; Harper & Row, 1964

Children’s Picturebook Price Guide Value: $780 VG+

The Giving Tree, first published in 1964, is a children’s book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. The story is a short moral tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree in a forest. It tells the account of how the tree loves the boy, and helps the boy with his needs throughout his life, from the boy’s childhood until his golden years (See GottaBook’s Oddaptations for a synopsis). This book has become one of Silverstein’s best known titles and has been translated into more than 30 languages.  

Since The Giving Tree was published, it has generated controversy and opposing opinions for its interpreted messages, on whether the tree is selfless or merely self-sacrificing, and whether the boy is selfish or reasonable in his demands of the tree.

Essential identifying point – DJ

Copies of The Giving Tree for sale are often incorrectly identfied as first editions. The true first printing is difficult to find, and does not surface regularly for sale. To set the record straight:

Dust jacket flap:  Price “$2.50”.

Note: The DJ price is essential, since we’ve come across editions with all first edition points on book and DJ, except price is "$3.95".


Back DJ flap:

Three reviews of Lafcadio, by NY Times, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly.

Back DJ cover:

Full torso picture of Shel Silverstein, with hair, covering top left half of back dj. Early printings have larger photo, again with hair. Later printings have a bald Silverstein photo covering entire back dj cover.



Essential Identifying Point – Book

Front cover

Same image as front dust jacket.

Back cover:

Green boards, blank.

Copyright page:

Four lines, as follows:


Copyright 1964 by Shel Silverstein

Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

Library of Congress catalog card number: 64-11840

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *