The Tree House That Jack Built

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Best-selling illustrator Mark Teague brings Bonnie Verburg's irresistable rhyming text that is brimming with animals and action to vivid life!

Here is the boy up in the tree where he built a house ...

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Best-selling illustrator Mark Teague brings Bonnie Verburg's irresistable rhyming text that is brimming with animals and action to vivid life!

Here is the boy up in the tree where he built a house overlooking the sea.
Yes! This is the tree house that Jack built!
With ladders, swings, turrets,
and elaborate pulley systems everywhere--
animals chase one another over, under, around, and through.
And then--the bell rings.
Where are all the animals going?

Readers will pore over every detail of Mark Teague's spellbinding pictures.
And Bonnie Verburg's irresistible rhyming text leads readers to a soothing end of a wondrous day in the most exciting tree house ever!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An enormous banyan tree provides the foundation for an industrious boy’s idyllic seaside aerie in this version of the familiar cumulative rhyme. From a long-lens perspective, Jack’s tree house calls to mind the classic board game Chutes and Ladders: pulley systems, swings, and rope ladders link multiple decks built among the tree’s branches. Up close, readers see fun details that include a hammock, a ship’s steering wheel, and a lively menagerie of animal pals—a veritable tropical food chain from fly to monkey, with some helpful squirrels and rabbits along for fun. While Teague’s (the How Do Dinosaurs... series) lush jungle compositions swoop around the structure to show the animals in playful pursuit, Verburg (The Kiss Box) provides an equally entertaining journey. Entirely the master of his island domain, Jack calls the animals to order (“But what is that sound?/ Jack’s ringing a bell!/ It’s story time!/ They know it well”) as the story makes its way to a bedtime conclusion. Readers will envy Jack’s self-assured confidence and his abode itself, which is worthy of Swiss Family Robinson. Ages 3–6. (June)
From the Publisher

Praise for THE KISS BOX Book of the Year
-An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award Winner

"Debut picture-book author Verburg structures the story, inspired by her personal experience, with a steady, soothing pace. Cole complements the language beautifully with watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations evoking the classic joys of childhood. . . . Similar in subject matter to Audrey Penn's THE KISSING HAND, illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak (1993), but a whole lot more artful, this fresh take will motivate younger children to create boxes of their own."--KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Verburg handles her emotionally freighted material (based on personal experience, according to the endnote) with a light, patient touch, giving Little Bear's qualms their full due before introducing his solution."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Praise for the How Do Dinosaurs books

An ALA Notable Book
A BOOKLIST Editor's Choice
"A delight from start to finish; better buy more than one."--BOOKLIST

A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year
A Parent's Choice Award winner
* "An excellent choice for story hours."--BOOKLIST, starred review
* "The perfect prescription for the crankily bedridden."--KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

A Parent's Choice Award winner
"Kids should relate to the dinosaurs' mood swings and take heart in the notion that love conquers all."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Don't pass up this exuberant guide to achieving yuletide harmony."--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

"Yolen's characteristically wry verse is flawless in its rhyme and rhythm, and . . . the art's buttoned-up 1950s fashions and furnishings provide a comical visual contrast to the outlandish, brightly colored dinosaurs."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Children's Literature - Brandon West
The premise of the classic nursery rhyme “The House that Jack Built” has been re-envisioned into a similar, yet new, cumulative tale. The story starts by introducing a young, ginger-haired boy named Jack and the Swiss Family Robinson-style tree house he has built. Each page introduces a new creature who is part of ecosystem surrounding Jack’s tree house. For example, a fly buzzes by, followed by a lizard who snaps at the fly, and then a parrot pecks at the lizard. This pattern continues with an assortment of other creatures until Jack initiates story time, breaking the fourth wall and reading this book to his animal friends. The book’s use of a cumulative story telling is a bit jarring as it is not as predictable as the original nursery rhyme. The story features a rhyming scheme, but the rhyming never flows, partly because the verses grow longer and feature some odd word choices. Geared towards emergent readers, the book misses an opportunity to make the story more predictable, which would have made this tale more accessible to its young demographic. Teague’s illustrations are the star of this book as his acrylic paintings are bursting with color and feature cartoony creatures. While enjoyable for an initial read through, it is doubtful that many children will be clamoring to reread this book. Reviewer: Brandon West; Ages 3 to 5.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—One might suppose that this title is a riff on the cumulative rhyme of a similar name. Jack has built a tree house and is visited by a fly, lizard, and parrot, each dutifully invoked as the verse grows longer. Verburg has not left it at that, however. By the fourth page turn, she has inserted extra text. Readers are suddenly informed that Jack has assembled swings, a ladder, and a birdbath in the tree, but those real-estate enhancements are never mentioned again. The gathering of animals continues until the youngster declares it's storytime, reads a copy of this book aloud, watches the sunset, and just about everyone goes to bed. It's difficult to see the point of all this. Jack's tree appears to be a banyan, and most of the animals are tropical. The detail in Teague's color-saturated acrylics varies from one animal to the next. The frilled lizard's head is appropriately scaly, but the monkeys are far more cartoony. Jack, himself, is a redhead with a tabby cat and a shaggy sheepdog for pets. Of course, the conceit is pure fantasy, but the entire effort seems hastily thrown together.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
As the title indicates, arboreal hijinks inspired by the classic rhyme. The tale begins recognizably enough: "Here is the boy / up in the tree / where he built a house / overlooking the sea." Then there is a pesky fly, followed by a lizard that snaps at that fly. But the narrative halts its cumulative efforts partway through to take a different turn. Jack has built a treehouse full of pulleys, levers, ropes and ladders. There is a rabbit, enticed by a carrot on a string, who powers a device to fan the monkey. Not to mention the speedy pineapple-delivery system for the squirrels. Verburg interrupts the expected rhyme to falteringly point out the wonders of the treehouse as the cat "jumps on the swings, / the ladder, the birdbath, / the marvelous things / Jack made with his tools." The invitation to closely inspect Teague's saturated art is unnecessary. Readers will be eagerly peering through branches to catch all the details of their own accords. The cumulative narration begins again, only to be halted by the storytime bell; however, this time the rhythm is better preserved. Jack, in fact, reads the same story that they are all in! A semiclever twist that lends itself to far more imaginative play in illustration than text. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439853385
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/27/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 128,760
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bonnie Ingber Verburg has been editing books for children and adults for nearly three decades. She and her son live in Southern California with their two dogs, three parrots, a cat, a king snake, a leopard gecko, and a fish named Huck Fin.

Mark Teague is the award-winning children's book author and illustrator of his own bestselling Dear Mrs. LaRue series as well as FIREHOUSE!, FUNNY FARM, and many other humorous picture books. In addition to his prized art for the How Do Dinosaurs books, his recent illustrated novel, THE DOOM MACHINE, received excellent reviews. Mark lives in the Hudson River Valley with his wife and their two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2014

    We have had this book for a month and my 3 1/2 year old son LOVE

    We have had this book for a month and my 3 1/2 year old son LOVES the story! Fits perfectly into our bedtime routine (not too long and not too short) and my son loves pointing out all the pulley systems in the pictures an asking me how they work!

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