Score: 92/100 (9.2 out of 10)
The Treehouse Night by Tuula Pere is a fabulous and rather unique children's book that explores the topics of friendship, hard-work, commitment to a project, taking calculated risks, and setting goals. It's actually a bit like Ronnie's Pool by Linday Ann Fink in that regard. The characters, likewise, come together to accomplish a huge task with several bumps and hurdles along the way.
The characters wrestle with self-doubt, conflicts in their relationship, and tension with parents/family regarding certain plans. It might sound like Disney princess stuff, and it sorta is, but it's presented rather uniquely in this book. For one, there's kinda a darker and more mature tone to this book. No, there's nothing inappropriate or violent, but there's a sense that the characters really are taking risks that could land them in trouble. What if Emma's treehouse does fall apart with her in it and she gets hurt? What if this conflict and building dispute between Emma and Oliver is so severe that they never want to speak or play together again? What if Emma gets in trouble with her parents for pretty much disobeying them? What if Emma and Oliver are misconstrued as, well, being together alone in a treehouse at night?
It sounds like an odd consideration, but there is some tension between the two characters of opposite genders, which is quite cute but also leads to the possibility of something foreboding. It's not like Disney movies don't feature child and teenage characters who develop crushes on one another. They are portrayed as being on the older side, although they're still in school. They are probably between 12-16 years-old, so girlfriend/boyfriend talk isn't entirely out of the question. It's actually somewhat cute to see, especially granted that they are also of different races. They would be, in that regard, a multiracial couple. They are, at the very least, multiracial friends.
Another thing that we love to see with this book is that the art is a huge step up from Do You See Me When We Travel? by the same author. The art is actually quite nice. The human characters and the environments are well drawn and colored. They are definitely crafted in an appealing way. We were especially impressed by the budding flowers in the tree and the cricket near the end.
The writing is also a huge step up. Instead of the paragraphs being scattered around the page like the last book, the paragraphs in this book are neatly organized and very easy to read. It actually might be fun for one child to read Oliver's lines and the other to read Emma's. Most of this book is dialogue between two people.
This book also has quite a satisfying ending, something that a lot of reviewers seemed to have an issue with in regards to The Only Blue Crow by the same author. This book actually feels like it has a conclusion. Now, The Only Blue Crow did have superior art and, arguably, a more interesting premise aided by superior writing. However, this book is still great and special in its own way.
Check it out on Amazon!