The Tree House that Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg & Mark Teague
The Tree House that Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg, with fantastic illustrations by Mark Teague, takes the old nursery rhyme south of the equator for this very fun twist.
The Tree House that Jack Built begins by following the pattern of the nursery rhyme ("Here is the lizard that snaps at the fly that buzzes by the tree house that Jack built) and escalates until a bell rings - it's story time!
Jack reads a story - his own story. It's, "an island story far away - a tale of a boy in a great big tree who built a house by the deep blue sea, and all the animals are his friends." When the story ends, the animals all squawk to hear it again, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow. It turns out that The Tree House that Jack Built is actually a bedtime book! As the moon rises, Jack heads to his hammock and the animals settle down for the night. Good nights are said all around.
The text for The Tree House that Jack Built is solid, but it's Mark Teague's illustrations that really make it a magical book that readers will want to pore over again and again. Growing up a city kid, the closest I ever got to a tree house was the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Disneyland, and Teague's tree house brings that to mind. Jack's tree house is filled with pulleys and ropes and various levels and ladders that lead into the leaves. And there is SO MUCH to see in every illustration! The page where the lizard is about to snap up the fly also includes a couple of squirrels who have rigged up a nut-cracking-contraption. A system of bamboo water pipes leads to a bird bath for a toucan as well as a leveled waterfall. And, the squirrels seem to have a pineapple pulley system at play as well. Then there are the rabbits...
I could very easily see The Tree House that Jack Built becoming a regular part of a bedtime routine, including seeking out all the little details Teague has tucked away on every page.