One tree plus three friends equals three quirky stories.
Sara and Louisa do everything together. Barry lives next door, but he is friendless. In the first story, he commandeers the tree at the top of the hill and refuses to share his tire swing with the girls. An argument escalates into near disaster when Barry cuts the rope to the girls’ swing, and they retaliate by cutting through most of his. The scary consequences bring the three together, initially awash in accusation and guilt, but ultimately friends. The second story takes place in winter and involves a fortress of snow, the tree and one amazing snowball fight. When spring returns, the tree is struck by lightning, and the buddies imagine a new life for the stump. Comic-book–style panels combined with full-page illustrations keep this universal story moving along at a nice clip. The three children are easy to tell apart—Sara sports a tan face and red pigtails, Louisa is brown-skinned with a bouncy black hairdo and Barry’s gray tint and wide, tooth-sprinkled mouth will amuse all readers. Each story has its own background color as well, brown for fall, blue for winter and green for spring.
Readers who like comics with a storyline will look forward to further refreshingly non-saccharine tales of these three friends. (Early reader. 5-9)