From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—This gentle, cumulative tale follows two children from the early planning stages of a tree house to its completion. On a winter's day, Jack and Jill scope out the ideal tree branch on which to build. By the next page, spring has arrived, and the kids have started construction. Their progress is mirrored by two robins who are piecing together their own abode. Step by step, the children add the floor, the roof (a brightly patterned quilt placed over rope), the light (a flashlight), the table, the treats, and the friends. At story's end, the robins, who have completed their nest, and other birds sing the youngsters to sleep as they camp out in the cozy construction. The story ends on a triumphant note: "Hooray for the treehouse that Jack and Jill built!" Color, spirit, and a sense of satisfaction fill the soft illustrations, which depict idyllic days spent in outdoor amusement. The large images lend themselves well to group sharing, and the text includes small rebus pictures of each added item, allowing listeners to chant along. This is a book to be relished by youngsters who dream of their own tree houses, or any other project achieved through hard work and enjoyed at leisure.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
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Any kid who has dreamed of a tree-house hideaway will enjoy this tale of two enterprising friends. Modeled after the classic Mother Goose rhyme, The House that Jack Built, the cumulative story follows a similar rhythm, from the branch / that held the treehouse / that Jack and Jill built through to the finished house, which is completed with the light / that hung from the roof / that was raised over the floor / that was made from the wood / that was hauled up to the branch. Readers and listeners will enjoy both the bouncing repetition and the detailed building process. Colorful, softly textured illustrations, featuring both close-ups and overviews, depict cheerful characters, activities, and cozy objects (quilt roof, crate table), surrounded by a verdant natural setting and small wildlife. Pictorial icons will help children remember each new element in the story’s cumulative list. The tale omits safety details for potential builders, but children will appreciate the special kids-only place and celebration of youthful creativity, collaboration, and accomplishment. Grades K-3. --Shelle Rosenfeld