The Ultimate Tree House Project

 

by : Gary Nelson, PMP

Illustrated by Matthew Frauenstein

The Ultimate Treehouse Project

The story opens with James bemoaning the fact that spring vacation is over. He talks to his friends Ben, and twins Tom and Tim. On a recent family outing, he discovered a tree in the forest that would be perfect for a tree house. Amanda who is Ben’s sister hears them talking. The boys tell her, “No Girls Allowed.”

Ben declares himself their leader, but he has no plan. When they can’t figure out how to make a rope ladder, they decide they don’t need one. Amanda is upset that they would not accept her help. She knows how to tie a rope knot. That night she talks to her dad. He suggests that she and her friends, Becky, Alice and Susan build their own tree house. He offers to help but warns Amanda that they will not succeed without a plan! She must first imagine what the tree house will look like and draw pictures.

At their next meeting, Amanda’s dad explains there are four major parts of a good plan. You need to have a good idea, a plan, a do phase, and a finish up. You must constantly recheck to see that your steps are working. You must keep lists with the required materials, deadlines, the resources needed and the team skills necessary to complete the job. They make a bubble chart to show when the tasks have to be done and in what order,

Armed with a plan, the girls set out in the forest with a compass to guide them, but they cannot find another tree large enough to support a tree house. The boys have made little progress and reluctantly agree that the girls can build on the other side of their tree. In a short time, the girls have a rope ladder and a system of pulleys to haul up their materials. Meanwhile, the boys run out of nails and James’ father discovers they have stolen all his nails without permission so now they must now buy their own.

A series of accidents and natural disasters occur. It seems that the tree house project is doomed. Will the girls and boys find a way to work together to get the job done or will the summer come and go without a tree house?

Nelson was inspired to write this book by his own wife and children. The language is suitable for middle grade students and the competition of boy versus girl will appeal to this age group. A fifteen year old artist drew the illustrations with simple colorful images. There is a bit too much conversation in the text which sometimes interferes with the story flow but does not impede the message. An appendix includes a glossary of technical terms. Nelson aligns the book to educational standards in the United Kingdom, the United States, and New Zealand. Resources and kids projects are promised to be coming soon. Parents and teachers will appreciate the lessons of friendship, team work, planning and cooperation found in this book.

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