Up in the Leaves: The True Story of the Central Park Treehouses

illus. by Jamey Christoph. 40p. Sterling. Mar. 2018. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781454920717.
Gr 1–3—As a child, Bob Redman preferred nature to the densely crowded New York City streets. He found a secret spot in the branches of Central Park, where "each tree has its own world, every limb an adventure." Gathering wood and rope from dumpsters, he built a tree house in the park—a place where he could go to escape the "roar, clang, bang" of down below. One day, his hideaway mysteriously disappeared. Redman made another. Then it happened again. This game continued over time until Redman, now an adult in the narrative, built the biggest tree house of all. Park employees caught him in the act and offered him a job tending to the trees—so long as he agreed to stop building. The epilogue contains a short biography and photograph of the real Bob Redman. Christoph's digitally rendered illustrations mimic watercolor, offering beautiful hues and visible, delicate brush strokes. Leafy endpapers make the reading experience akin to climbing up the trees and sitting alongside Redman. Onomatopoeic phrases like "tap, tap, tap" and "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh" pepper the text with read-aloud potential but the story feels slightly oversimplified. In favor of its whimsical tone, the text evades the fact that Redman is rewarded with a job for his rule breaking. Readers may have lingering questions about why the tree houses were continuously taken down.
VERDICT An additional purchase that's sure to inspire young arborists.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing