Archive for May, 2013

SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN?

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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WARM AND WONDERFUL

The Trees Have Hearts

by Mrs. D.

Illustrated by Julie Hasegawa

treeshaveheartspic

This book is beautifully written and illustrated. The delicate colors and fine lines will prove satisfying to the eye just as the lyrical language is soothing to the ear. I urge the reader to pay particular attention to the Preface in which the author reminds us that we should look at things through the eyes of a child and enjoy this period of wonder and imagination because it is a fleeting moment in time which soon disappears.

 

As the story begins a sad little girl is gazing out her window at the spring garden. She sees the trees just beginning to bloom. The little girl does not go out to play because she has just moved from another country and does not know the language. She feels lost and alone. One day she goes out into the garden and the trees speak to her. Sassy is the wise magnolia tree, Shadow, the weeping cherry tree and Chance, the beautiful plum tree. They become the little girl’s friends who introduce her to the wonders of nature and the creatures in her garden. She rushes home after school to play with them. But when summer comes, her mother sends her to camp. She is afraid to tell her tree friends and disappears. The tree friends are distraught. They send the Wind to look for her. The Old Wind finally finds her by the ocean building sandcastles on the beach. But she is not alone, the little girl is laughing with her friends. The tree friends are afraid that she has forgotten them. When the little girl arrives home, she surprises them with a gift that she has specially chosen for each of them. Chance welcomes her friends and shares her plums with them. The seasons change and the trees evolve just as the little girl has blossomed and matured,

 

We all know that things never stay the same. One day the little girl arrives home and her mother has a surprise for her. Will the bond between the little girl and her tree friends be able to survive this new crisis?

 

Read this charming story suitable for children of ages to find out.

 

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