Bob is uncomfortable with the noise, the crowds, and the fast pace of New York City.
He feels claustrophobic and longs for escape. Most of all, the young, white boy needs to be above it all. Climbing lampposts or going up to his building’s rooftop help, but it is the expanse of Central Park that soothes his soul. The trees seem to invite him to climb them and explore. He is happy above the city in his secret spot. He builds himself a treehouse and makes it his peaceful hideaway. When the treehouse disappears (the text never explains this phenomenon, leaving it to caregivers to help children understand), he feels its loss deeply but begins a new one, more hidden, and better than the first. As the years pass, he builds ever more intricate ones, even a kind of village in a tree, but every one of them is taken away. Finally, park officials order him down—and, miraculously, offer him a job caring for the park’s trees. It becomes his life’s work, and he loves everything about it. Boss shares the tale of Bob Redman, a real arborist in New York, with simple, heartfelt language, displaying compassion and understanding of Bob’s dedication to his trees. The text appears in white spaces nestled among Christoph’s soft, delicately hued illustrations, which beautifully depict, with great attention to detail, the wide variety of trees that Bob encounters.
A tender, gentle celebration. (epilogue) (Picture book. 5-9)