Drawing the Line: The Giving Tree's "Adult" Lessons
When I was nine years old, having recently devoured Shel Silverstein's first book of children's poems, I discovered nude photos of the author in Playboy magazine. A neighbor had left a trunk full of Playboys with us (his wife objected to them), so naturally I snuck two or three of them at a time to my bedroom, where I could read them in private. I wasn't aware that "Silverstein in a Nudist Camp" was only one installment of many he wrote for Playboy, but I was struck by the similarity of the cartoons in the article to the drawings in his children's books. Several black-and-white photographs accompanied the cartoons, but the one that stuck with me was of a naked Silverstein walking down a wooded path away from the camera, flanked by women similarly unadorned, their rear ends the most prominent feature of the photo. I couldn't read Silverstein again without seeing that image.
Locate the Document
Hines, M. (2019). Drawing the Line: The Giving Tree's" Adult" Lessons. Children's Literature, 47(1), 120-148.