From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5. Three siblings living on a farm in Whilton County, PA, in the 1880s each tell a story with their treehouse as the focal point. The eldest, Tom, is 10 when he builds the treehouse that they use for spying games. Five-year-old Natty swears that the structure is the home of a fire-breathing dragon, until Tom proves that the monster is really a neighbor smoking a pipe. Two years later in 1883, Emily is 10 when her yearning to ride a fast horse is finally realized and she makes an exciting journey to stop a thief. Natty, the youngest, is eight when his fascination with and reenactment of George Washington's cherry-tree story almost splinters his dreams. These charming stories combine the homespun details found in Laura Ingalls Wilder's work, the storytelling of Bill Brittain, and the child's-eye view of Ann Cameron's "Julian" tales. The depiction of time and place, family ties, and daily events are dovetailed with a realistic style and likable children to create satisfying reading. The narratives will be fun read-alouds with the black-and-white drawings subtly adding flavor.?Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
An affecting and affectionate trio of stories about three siblings growing up on a Pennsylvania farm in the 1880s. Tom, Natty, and Emily play at being Civil War generals, with their treehouse as a fort, but Natty fears the stump it sits on, saying that a dragon lives there. How Tom unmasks the dragon, and learns a bit about Zeke, the hired hand, as well as about the art of storytelling, are at the heart of this first chapter. In the second, Emily longs to ride in the competition at the county fair, but her mother insists that ladies don't ride at full gallop. Emily gets to ride a horse fast and hard and capture a thief at the same time. In the third tale, Natty takes the story of George Washington and the cherry tree as a metaphor for making his own choices in a dilemma involving parental expectations--and lambs. Some of the casual conversation is spot on, e.g., when Natty realizes with distaste that his sister is a girl: `` `Girl!' he said, as if he had been told his sister was a snail.'' The black-and-white illustrations are warm and with just enough exaggeration to match the tale-telling. (Fiction. 8-11) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.