Boy has a small adventure in a tree house with Bird and Dog.
It involves ingenuity and determination, as Boy finds a way, with Bird’s help, to get Dog up into the tree house, employing a pot and a rope and teamwork. It all happens with kindness and gratitude and mom’s cookies. The story is told in the sparest of language, with a base of 47 different, frequently repeated words, arranged in the simplest of sentences. Although it is part of an early-reader series, it doesn’t feel like a textbook primer, nor does it condescend to emergent readers. It reads smoothly with a clear plot, likable characters and an interesting setting. The text appears in large print at either the top or bottom of each page. McPhail’s signature watercolor-and-ink illustrations are large scale with soft edges. The action and characters are well defined and appealing, and Boy’s facial expressions depict his imaginative thought processes and exertions, as well as the joy of a successful outcome. Even Dog and Bird manage to convey appropriate emotions with just a slight change in the snout, beak or eyes, or angle of their bodies.
This one could work as a read-aloud, child to adult, with lots of pictorial details to notice and talk about. A sweet, gentle charmer. (Early reader. 4-7)