HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Tree House Mystery
Author: Carol Beach York
Illustrator: Reisie Lonette
Publisher: Coward McCann and Geoghegan, 1973
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 6-10
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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York, Carol Beach. The Tree House Mystery (Published in 1973 by Coward McCann and Geoghegan for Weekly Reader Books, 1250 Fairwood Ave., Columbus, OH 43216). Roger Mayfair lives with his parents and younger sister Anabelle, and the family is moving from their house in town to a new home in the country. Roger is a little sad to be leaving his old neighborhood and especially his friend Bobby Thompson. But the Mayfairs’ 23 acres have a woods with rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, a creek, and even a treehouse, so Roger is somewhat excited about that. However, when he and Anabelle go into the woods to see the treehouse, Roger hears mysterious noises in the woods and notices a strange movement in the treehouse.
Later, the two children actually climb up into the treehouse and find a note in it which reads, “I am not coming here anymore. I am afraid The Thing will come back. You better not come here anymore, too. It is too dangerous.” They even see some huge, three-toed footprints around the creek and beneath the treehouse. What are they going to do? Who left the note? And is there a “Thing” wandering in the woods? This is a great story for a young boy. It is a very suspenseful but relatively harmless mystery for children that will keep them on the edge of their seats.
The illustrations by Reisie Lonette strengthen the feeling of anticipation and help to keep the story moving quickly forward as the plot unravels. This delightful little novel would be especially good for young readers transitioning from picture books to chapter books. The language is simple which makes it an easy read, but it has a good vocabulary and some nice lessons. The sentence structure remains like that found in picture books, but there is an actual plot that will engage children as they read. Kids who like tales that are a little creepy but not too scary might want to give it a try.