The Tree House by Toni Brisland
Published Little Steps Publishing
Emma loves her sister Teresa, especially because Teresa is special. She is in a wheelchair, and can’t speak to Emma, but Emma sees the sparkle into Teresa’s eyes when she mentions climbing a tree.
Mummy is sceptical, knowing the challenges Teresa would face in the simple action of climbing a tree, but Emma is determined. She knows that if Teresa could talk, she would definitely want to climb the tree.
Mummy suggests there might be a way. Mummy, Daddy, Grandad and all of Emma’s friends, join together to design and build a tree house.
It is the most magnificent tree house, and when Emma takes it upon herself to wheel Teresa in for a closer look, Emma gets startled by Teresa’s excited response. So excited that a very unfortunate accident occurs and Teresa topples out of her chair.
Teresa spends the night in hospital for observation, and Emma leaves Teresa her favourite doll to watch over her. Emma still wishes that Teresa could play with her in her tree house, so the next day Grandad and Daddy, build a special swing to help Teresa play, and Emma and Mummy and Teresa can all swing together below the tree house.
This is a really sweet unconditional sibling love story. It isn’t uncommon for a child with a disabled sibling, to wish and hope that their sibling can play, just the way their friends can. This story gently points out the limitations that Emma’s sister Teresa faces, but it also shows that with, love, encouragement, and working together, a compromise can be found to help Teresa join in the enjoyment of the tree house.
The water colour illustrations are wonderful, portraying this story beautifully. I believe this would make a great addition to any bookshelf, to help children to understand the challenges that families with disabled children face, as well as highlighting the joy and laugher that a child with a difference can bring.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Toni Brisland
Illustrator: Michele Gaudion
Title: The Tree House
Publisher: Little Steps Publishing
Published: March 2014