13 October 2008

What if there were no trees?

We had an interesting discussion the other day; I was about to read the book, 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein (a favourite book of mine, as regular readers will recognise!)


What, we wondered, might the book be about?  What do trees 'give' us?  We began by focusing on fruit (perhaps something to do with our earlier apple seed survey) after Tatiana reminded us that trees 'give' us apples.  Harrison added that trees 'give' us pears and Shahrbano mentioned oranges.


Dasha suggested coconuts (after being told that strictly speaking bananas don't grow on trees). 

Meghna then changed the focus of the discussion.  'Trees 'give' us oxygen,' she told us confidently.  Tommy concurred.  Food for thought here, I think!


Tommy went on to suggest that you might cut a tree trunk down and carve it into a boat.  Harrison, on the 'wood' theme, said that toys can be made from wood.  Meghna said you can build fences from wood and Shahrbano mentioned ladders.  Thomas told us that beds can be made from wood and Owen said that whole houses can be wooden. 

When Sivert mentioned that shoes can be made out of wood, Shahrbano was puzzled.  'How?' she asked. 

'Well', explained Sivert, 'We take  pieces of wood, make a shape of a shoe and we dig inside.' 

'They are called clogs,' said Owen.


As happens with so many of our discussions, so this one threatened to run away with us.  Time, I think, to get the story underway.  What would 'The Giving Tree' give, and what for?

Now, I am not, at this point, going to retell the story; after all, you could probably borrow it from your local library if you aren't familiar with it.  What I will do though, is share some of the things that The Giving Tree 'gave' to the boy.

When he was a little boy, the tree 'gave' him leaves.....


for a crown, a trunk to climb, branches to swing from and apples to eat; places to hide and somewhere shady.....


to sleep.

When he grew up, the 'boy' needed money so the tree gave him apples to sell at the market, her branches.....


for a house, her trunk for a boat, and finally, when all that was left was a short, sad stump, somewhere to sit down and rest.

Back now to the question of the post title; 'What if there were no trees?'  Well, there was the obvious - no trees = no apples; no trees = no leaves-for-crowns; no trees = no swinging-in-branches, no.....well you can see where this is heading, I'm sure!

But think for a moment.  Yes, we need trees.  For books, for pencils, for rubber (thanks for thinking of that, Owen!) 

And good heavens, no trees = no coffee.....IMG_5125

without which your author would find it mighty hard to function - so no coffee in turn = no Blog (perish the thought!)

But who or what else needs trees?  Here are some of the things that we have thought of so far:

Tommy told us that red pandas need trees to live in (and a quick 'Google' reveals that they eat rhododendrons as well as bamboo).  No trees = no red pandas

Someone said that birds.....


need trees in which to build their nests.  No trees = no birds

And someone else said that squirrels nest in trees and also eat nuts.....


which come from trees.  No trees = no squirrels

Who or what do you think did this?  And why? 


No trees = no whatever-it-was-did-that

Of course we have by no means exhausted this subject and we will continue to try to think of the different effects of having no trees.  What other things can you think of?

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