It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
In the Tree House
Words by: Andrew Larsen
Pictures by: Dusan Petricic
Published by: Kids Can Press (2013)
Have you read Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan? Andrew Larsen’s In the Tree House reminds me a little bit of the former.
In this book, a boy talked about how excited he was when his family moved to a new house. It had its own backyard and the boy had his own room. That meant he no longer had to share a room with his older brother, which made the boy sad. Fortunately, the boy came up with a plan: with the help of his father and brother, he would build a tree house in their yard!
The brothers spent lots of time in their tree house during summer. They read comics. They played cards. They had so much fun! Until that one summer, when his brother decided to spend more time with his friends than his younger brother.
When a power outage affected the entire neighborhood, everyone went outside with their flashlights. Some came with candles. The grown-ups talked and the kids played. It was a blackout party! The boy was in the tree house when the blackout happened. That summer felt so different without his big brother. As he was about to climb down and join the others, the boy had an unexpected guest…
In the Tree House is a sweet, tender story about brotherhood, love for family, and being part of a community. The illustrations are beautiful. This book is perfect for people who love tree houses and those who enjoy the company of family and friends.
House Held Up by Trees
Words by: Ted Kooser
Pictures by: Jon Klassen
Published by: Candlewick Press (2012)
I didn’t know about this book until I did a random search in our online catalog. I love the works of Jon Klassen and it’s nice to see his art in a story that has a more serious tone to it.
The story began with a house that stood alone in a vast field. It had a lawn but there was not a single tree around the house. The house stood where the trees used to be. The trees had to make room for the house.
As the years passed, flowers from faraway trees would drop seeds. The wind carried the seeds, which would then drop on the lawn of the lone house and begin to grow. The man of the house wanted a perfect lawn, so he worked day and night to mow or pluck out sprouts. The children played in the nearby trees and bushes, but they grew and set off into the world.
The father stayed and he made sure his lawn remained perfect. The older he got, however, the more he realized that maybe it was time for him to leave. He decided to put the house up for sale and move to the city where he could be near his children. Time passed, and no one decided to occupy the house. That is, until the wind decided to carry seeds, which landed under the foundation of the house, where it would turn into saplings…
I felt sadness when I read the first half of House Held Up by Trees. A lot of places are getting commercialized. Trees are being cut down to make way for more houses and businesses. I like how this book turns the situation around and shows the beauty and (uplifting) power of nature. Klassen’s delicate illustrations match Kooser’s gentle storytelling.