I love tree houses. Who doesn't? For me, tree houses, along with window seats, are those things from my childhood that seemed like magical places where a kid could go to get away from the world. They were magical to me because, growing up in a city and living in an apartment, they seemed largely unattainable. Yet, they posses the transformative power of an enchanted wardrobe or mirror. Audrey's Tree House by Jenny Hughes with illustrations by Jonathan Bentley, brings my childhood dream to the page, and with just the right amount of parental involvement, support and distance, which are also part of that childhood hideaway fantasy.
When Audrey, bag in hand, tells her dad that his house is getting too small for her, he takes it in stride and asks her where she plans to go. She's undecided, so they head outside to have a look around. The chicken coop, the tool shed and the garage just won't work, but the tree in the back yard seems promising.
Audrey plans and her father builds. A staircase! A bathtub for snorkeling! A place to sip tea and a blue bed (so she can keep her secrets underneath)! When the house is just right, Audrey's father packs up his tools and wishes her a good night. Like any child being put to bed, she has a few concerns. She needs her fluffy blanket. She might sneeze all the leaves off the tree. Her grumbling tummy might wake the birds. Dad has a comforting response for each worry. Audrey's final concern, that a flood might wash her away, is met with this very sweet reassurance, "I know where there's a staircase. It leads to a place safe and warm. There's soup for two and two snug beds. You can always come home with me."
At the end of the day, no matter how amazing the tree house (or window seat) isn't that what every kid really wants to hear, that you can always come home?
Source: Review Copy