This weekend on Instagram, I discovered something I never knew I always wanted: a helpful update to Shel Silverstein’s psychotic parenting allegory The Giving Tree, in which a tree gives up every molecule of itself to help some ungrateful kid, and we’re supposed to think it’s good and noble or something. Yeah, you remember.
Anyway, playwright and screenwriter Topher Payne has now fixed it. The Tree Who Set Healthy Boundaries is part of Payne’s “Topher Fixed It” series, which was created in support of The Atlanta Artist Relief Fund, and which offers printable alternate endings for certain problematic children’s books. (He also accepts tips.) “Ever settle in with the young person in your life to read one of your childhood favorites, like The Giving Tree or The Rainbow Fish, only to get halfway through it and go, “Wait, WHAT?” Payne writes. “Well, good news. I fixed it.” Also included is a fix for that most frightening of children’s books (in my opinion): I’ll Love You Forever.
“Just read The Giving Tree as usual, right up to the point where the Boy comes hustling for a house. Then feel free to print these pages and read as an alternative to everything that follows,” Payne writes. I think I’ll do just that. (Eat your heart out, Ryan Gosling.)