Sunday, July 14, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen and readers of all ages, today I review the VERY FIRST BOOK I EVER READ: The Tree House Mystery by Carol Beach York.
I read this book for the first time when I was five. And I read it to spite my older sister Tonya. Tonya was seven and in second grade and could already read. I was in kindergarten and couldn't yet read on my own and that fucking killed me. And then one day I found her copy of this book on the floor of the bedroom the two of us shared with our little sister Melissa and I decided then and there that I was going to read it. All by myself. Come hell or high water.
So I hid the book where Tonya wouldn't look and every day when I got home from school, after lunch and The Monkees (back then kindergarten was only half a day guys), I would go upstairs to our bedroom and sit in my bed and stare at the pages.
And stare and stare.
And then stare some more.
Until one day the words made sense. I mean, not all of the words. Some words I had to sort of figure out by using context clues from the rest of the sentence. And other words I couldn't fathom at all and I just skipped over them. But I could read most of the words! Enough to puzzle out the story.
The book is about a family--the Mayfairs. There's mom and dad Mayfair and Roger and Annabelle. They sell their house in the city and buy a bigger house with a huge amount of property out in the country. They get 23 acres, which includes a wooded area and a creek. In the wooded area is--can you guess? A big old tree with a tree house. At first Roger and Annabelle are excited about the tree house. But then they started noticing things--scary things--about it. Like the huge footprints in the dirt at the base of the tree. And the note tucked into the floor boards that warned them away and mentioned that "The Thing" would be back.
There was no "Thing." It turned out that two little boys who lived on an adjacent property had been using the tree house for a clubhouse while nobody owned it and just didn't want to give it up when the Mayfairs moved in. But Roger was glad to have a couple little boys his age to play with so they all got along and lived happily ever after.
Guys this book is just good fun. It's a short, easy read: a small chapter book appropriate for kids 5 to 9 or 10. There are 90 pages, big type and lots of sketches to accompany the text. Reading it again now I'm reminded of The Magic Tree House series. I wonder if Mary Pope Osborne read the Tree House Mystery when she was little?