This is a rather simple little book but it holds enormous appeal for quite a number of people; myself included. Margaret Atwood has written several children's books in addition to this one which includes such works as "Anna's Pet" (1980), "For the Birds" (1990), "Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut," (1995), "Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes" (2003), and Bashful Bob and the Doleful Dorinda," (2004). While all are good books, the one being reviewed here is my favorite. (There may quite well be more that I am unaware of...if you know of them, please add the titles to the comment section here).
This is a story of two wide-eyed little children who live in a tree with an owl. There is a ladder leading up into the tree and one day two beavers come along and reduce their wooden staircase to a bunch of chips! What will they do? "Oh moan! Oh groan! There is not telephone. Are we stuck FOREVER in this horrible tree?" Well as chance would have it, a very large masked bird comes to their rescue. The children then build a permanent ladder of boards nailed to the trunk of the tree and all is well.
This is truly a rather odd little picture book and as I said, it appeals to me greatly in a sort of quirky way. The text is simple with short sentences and workable words. It is ideal for the young beginning reader. To be hones, this book reminds me a lot of Dr. Seuss in the over all feel and tone, but is more laid-back and mellow than most Seuss books....not the "edge" or intensity you find in some of his work.
And the art work! It is interesting to note that the publisher of this work (And please note that the author was the illustrator of this book and that the text is hand lettered by same author), did not want to sink a lot of money into this project so only two colors were used and we get both pictures and text in all sorts of shades of red, blue and brownish color. The art work looks as if it came from the primitive school which makes it all the more appealing as far as I am concerned.
Kids seem to love this thing and so do I which probably says quite a bit about me as a person I suppose. My wife is constantly asking me what I want to be when I grow up...I have half a mind to tell her I want to live in a tree with an old owl.