The Great Treehouse War
by Lisa Graff
Philomel, May 16, 2017
review ARC received at ALA
When I reviewed this book on GoodReads, I gave The Great Treehouse War a long string of tags:
- cats because Winnie's Buttons is truly "the world's greatest cat."
- coming-of-age because it is a rare middle grade (not middle school) book that explores the end-of-5th-grade-going-to-middle-school phase, rather than being about 12 year-olds who already are in middle school.
- characters because each of the ten Tulip Street/Treehouse Ten is a completely unique character who the reader gets to know through the story and the added sticky not comments, sketches, how-to segments, diagrams, and other paraphernalia (see hybrid below)
- empathy because that is Winnie's super power (she calls it Artist Vision) and what helps her to solve the problem that the epic sleepover turns into.
- hybrid because there are fun sketches, maps, and sticky note comments from Winnie's friends.
- memoir because that's what the character Winnie is writing so she doesn't flunk 5th grade.
- incidental diversity, not because you can see the characters' differences in their physical features, but rather in their names (Aayush Asad, Winnie Malladi-Maraj) and small details like Lyle's "moms." (A student reader came and asked me if I thought that was a typo in the ARC, and I said, No, he probably just has two moms. Oh, okay, said the child, and off he went to continue reading.)
- divorce because Winnie has the most over-the-top wacky divorced parents ever. They take the fight for exactly equal time with Winnie to ridiculous lengths. Any child being pulled in two different directions will absolutely relate to the relief Winnie feels on Wednesdays, when she gets to live with neither parent, instead, staying in the treehouse that's halfway between the two houses. (She can have Wednesday to herself so that each parent has exactly three days a week with her.)