Monday, October 29, 2018

Review - Everything You Need for a Treehouse

Everything You Need for a Treehouse
by Carter Higgins
illustrated by Emily Hughes
Date: 2018
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Featuring beautiful images and a lyrical text with an exquisitely readable cadence, this book gives life and meaning to all the requisite elements of a treehouse, from time, timber, and rafters to ropes of twisted twine that invite visitors to sprawl out on a limb and slide back down again. For anyone who's ever wanted to escape real life and live in a nostalgic dream come true, this poignant picture book captures the universal timelessness of treehouses and celebrates all the creativity and adventure they spark.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

It's kind of ironic that this book had so little purple in the colour palette. I guess the prose made up for it.

This has got to be one of the most pretentious children's picture books I've ever read. The prose was absolutely ridiculous. As an adult, I had trouble puzzling out some of what the author meant (like when she kept referring to sun speckles; I think she meant dappled light, but I couldn't say for sure). Phrases like "refuge in the flora", "pinpricked canopy", "twisted twine of spun sugar and sap", and "the stars will fall past your reach" are a bit much for a kids' book that's supposedly about building a treehouse.

Oh, and let's talk about the treehouses, shall we? The young children in this book are all architects and work in construction, apparently, because they have the most ridiculously elaborate treehouses I've ever seen. Maybe this was meant to show their imagination--they saw their treehouses the way they wanted them to be--but that wasn't exactly clear from the text. Who doesn't want a multi-level treehouse with its own library, tucked within a greenhouse, perched at the top of a tree so high you can see for miles? I'm afraid that, for the kids who genuinely want a treehouse, this book could lead to unreasonably high expectations (especially since Mom and Dad--likely treehouse amateurs--are the ones who are going to have to build it for them).

The illustrations are detailed and interesting, which is the only thing that saved the book for me. The text is too ridiculous, and not even that strong (there are grammar, punctuation, and spelling issues throughout; those may be stylistic choices, but I don't like to see that in books for little kids). So I'm afraid I can't recommend this one at all.

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 1/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.67 out of 5

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