cover image Treehouse Tales

Treehouse Tales

Anne Isaacs, Anne Issacs. Dutton Books, $14.99 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45611-7

Isaacs (Swamp Angel) rustles up another nourishing batch of tales about American settlers, this time for middle-graders. Set over different years in the early 1880s, each of three stories focuses on one of the three Barrett children and in some way involves their treehouse. The first story alluringly establishes the rural setting and sympathetically introduces the children by means of their rich, imaginative play. While playing Civil War one day, Natty fearfully insists to his siblings that there is a dragon in their treehouse. Tom investigates, and inadvertently dumps water on hired hand Zeke, the ""dragon"" who has sneaked in for a smoke. This good-natured tale is followed by two even more vibrant stories. In one, Emily earns the right to ride horses at full gallop like a boy; in the other, Natty thinks he can achieve greatness a la George Washington if he, too, chops down a special tree. Bloom's (One Yellow Daffodil) pencil illustrations mix a sweet nostalgia with mild folkloric humor. They add just enough historical ambience to the timeless themes of this collection. Ages 8-11. (July)