I'm continuing with my goal of reading all of the nominees for the 2014 Blue Spruce Award from the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading. Other nominees I've featured so far include Oddrey by Dave Whammond (OwlKids Books), I Dare You Not to Yawn by Helene Boudreau (Candlewick Press), A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton (Pajama Press) and Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds.
In the Tree House
written by Andrew Larsen
illustrated by Dusan Petricic
published by Kids Can Press, 2013
An evocative story about two brothers who are growing up (one faster than the other), an unusual summer night and a special tree house that proves childhood is not just a time but also a place.
My Thoughts as a Writer:
I think many children dream of having their own tree house -- I know I definitely did! It was really interesting the way this book took a beloved place (or idea of a place) and built a story around it. The author includes lots of sensory details in simple language that is perfect for young children. I liked the way there were layers to the story with the emotion of the changing relationship between the main character and his brother. The illustrations capture the personality of the tree house as well as the characters.
My Thoughts as a Teacher:
This book offered many possibilities for making inferences (e.g., Why did they have to eat the ice cream during the blackout?) and personal connections (e.g., Have you ever experienced a blackout?). This book could be used to start discussions about siblings or changing friendships, loneliness, and things to do when you don’t have the use of technology.