The Wonderful Tree House
pictures by Harry Devlin
Parent's Magazine Press, 1962
Full disclosure. I took my son to see How to Train Your Dragon last week, and he fell for it, hook, line and sinker. He's a sucker for any sort of enchanted animal and has swallowed the story whole, making the past week thoroughly dragon-filled. The moment we walked out of the theater, we headed over to the bookstore to purchase the story in its original form, while picking up a copies of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Remember the Alamo and Treasure Island for a trio of birthday parties we have coming up. I love the fact that my son is ALWAYS the only one who gives books. Even if the kid ends up hating it, it still stands out from all the plastic and robotics and superman stuff that is usually gifted. Plus, ten bucks says that book will still be on the child's bookshelf even after he goes off to college while that long forgotten plastic monster truck is rotting at the bottom of a landfill.
Recently, gifting books has started to annoy my son. He wishes we could go to the department store and pick out some big flashing toy with sounds and lights that would illicit the loudest ohhhs and ahhhs at the party, but I've held strong. A good thing too, as while shopping for those gifts I noticed this book waving sweetly at me from the nostalgia shelf.
Two iconic books that I remember fondly from my childhood were Old Black Witch! and How Fletcher Was Hatched, and although I'm not a huge fan of the Cranberry series, I'll pick up a Devlin book anytime I see one. Here we have the story of a boy who dreams of building a wonderful tree house.
What kind of house
Should a tree house be
A castle, maybe,
Strong and tall
With towers and
A high stone wall?
Or maybe a fairy tale house or an airplane or a nest or a fort? The possibilities are endless, though in the end, good old dad knows just what to do to make the house come alive. Because, after all, a tree house can be anything we want in our imaginations. My husband is dying to build a tree house with my son, but we have a few birthdays still to go before that happens. Makes me insane that he'll be in kindergarten next year. Where has the time gone?
As my son and I sat on the couch this morning, finishing up the last two chapters of How To Train Your Dragon, both admittedly weeping openly at the end.... I made a pact that as long as my son will let me, I'll keep dishing out books to birthday boys and girls. I'd rather give even the chance of that moment... sitting there in the morning light, weeping over a lost dragon... to a child than some old stinky Lego set any day.
How Fletcher Was Hatched
Old Witch Rescues Halloween
Old Witch and the Polka Dot Ribbon
Old Black Witch!