Everything You Need for a Treehouse

Carter Higgins, illus. by Emily Hughes. Chronicle, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4255-5
This fantastical picture book begins with an invitation to pause and dream: “Everything you need for a treehouse/ starts with time/ and looking up.” In subsequent spreads, a diverse cast of kids creates increasingly elaborate, whimsical structures, from a spiraling tree-canopy platform to a giant, multi-story basket nestled high within branches. Poetic text from Higgins (This Is Not a Valentine) reaches for warm intimacy by directly addressing young readers, but the alliterative lines’ meaning can feel obscure (“maybe a rope,/ some twisted twine/ of spun sugar and sap”). The digitally colored graphite illustrations by Hughes (Charlie & Mouse) truly shine, with scenes of children playing, reading, sharing secrets, and stargazing in wondrously detailed worlds within worlds of their own making. A final image of kids on a suburban terrace eying a single potted tree offers a return to the opening line’s gentle reminder: “Everything you need for a treehouse/ starts with time/ and looking up.” Ages 3–5. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
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