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In November 2021, the U.S. Postal Service revealed 19 new stamp designs it planned to release in 2022. The diverse designs include Year of the Tiger celebrating the Lunar New Year; Edmonia Lewis, a Black Heritage stamp; and a National Marine Sanctuaries celebrating 50 years of the National Marine Sanctuary System.
Then, in January, USPS announced it would release seven more stamps this year. Most of the designs feature nature or landmarks, but one, in particular, is stirring up as many emotions as the book it’s based upon.
The Shel Silverstein stamp is a Forever stamp with an illustration from “The Giving Tree.” Silverstein first published his children’s book telling the symbolic story of a selfless tree and the boy she loved in 1964.
The stamp shares the green background of the book’s cover, along with a deep red apple falling into the outstretched hands of a young boy in overalls. Beneath the graphic is Shel Silverstein’s name in a font that looks quite similar to his well-known signature.
The stamp is highly reminiscent of the actual book cover, shown on the official Shel Silverstein Facebook page for Giving Tuesday in 2020.
Social media posts about the stamp display the range of sentiments it has evoked. For instance, some people seem excited about the design.
“I usually have one stamp I am looking forward to, and this year it is the Giving Tree stamp,” tweeted Claudia Berger.
I usually have one stamp I am looking forward to, and this year it is the Giving Tree stamphttps://t.co/v75fi9RBdY
— Claudia Berger (@ClaudiaEBerger) January 18, 2022
“The USPS is issuing a new 2022 Forever stamp to honor beloved children’s author Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree.’ One of my favorite books to read,” shared Stratford Academy Johnson House School Library.
The USPS is issuing a new 2022 Forever stamp to honor beloved children’s author Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” One of my favorite books to read! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/gv9TNVWtpe
— Stratford Academy Johnson House School Library (@SAJHLibrary) January 19, 2022
Others have mixed emotions — about both the stamp and the book.
“Do I dislike The Giving Tree? Yes. Am I still going to order the postage stamp of it? Probably also yes,” Macy Davis tweeted.
Do I dislike The Giving Tree? Yes. Am I still going to order the postage stamp of it? Probably also yes.
— Macy Davis (@BookishlyBright) January 19, 2022
“The @USPS just released a stamp of the “Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein,” tweeted David Veale. “So now you can cry everytime (sic) you send a letter.”
— David Veale (@DavidVeale19) January 18, 2022
Many people are unhappy about what is missing from the stamp: The tree herself.
“A new Forever stamp will honor Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree,'” Children’s Bookshelf tweeted. “But where’s the Tree?”
— Children's Bookshelf (@PWKidsBookshelf) January 14, 2022
Some found it fitting that the tree, which is reduced to a stump in the story, is missing from the stamp.
Ann Braden agreed, tweeting, “If they were going to honor THE GIVING TREE the image should have been the stump. I would have put that stamp on everything.”
Agreed! If they were going to honor THE GIVING TREE the image should have been the stump.
— Ann Braden (She/Her) (@annbradenbooks) January 20, 2022
Another common theme is that readers who are fans of the author but are not especially fond of this book.
“Although I like some of his other work, ‘The Giving Tree’ always irked me, even when I was a kid. The design is horribly ironic, yet somehow sadly appropriate,” tweeted Haiku Hedgehog, who appropriately closed with a poem.
“The Giving Tree gave.
Selfless, not even her stump
was put on her stamp.”
Although I like some of his other work, "The Giving Tree" always irked me, even when I was a kid. The design is horribly ironic, yet somehow sadly appropriate.
The Giving Tree gave.
Selfless, not even her stump
was put on her stamp. https://t.co/FA6TwhFBFw
— haiku hedgehog (@HaikuHedgehog) January 16, 2022
The release date for the stamps has yet to be announced.