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Kaline Klattermaster's Tree House


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About the Author

Haven Kimmel is the author of The Used World, She Got Up Off the Couch, Something Rising (Light and Swift), The Solace of Leaving Early, and A Girl Named Zippy. She studied English and creative writing at Ball State University and North Carolina State University and attended seminary at the Earlham School of Religion. She lives in Durham, N.C.

Peter Brown is the author of Children Make Terrible Pets and the critically acclaimed artist of Chowder and Flight of the Dodo. He is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasedena, California. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Peter at PeterBrownStudio.com.


Gr 3-4-Third-grader Kaline Klattermaster can't sit still. Sounds he doesn't even know he is going to make just pop out of his mouth. He starts out to do a task or his homework but then a single word or idea captures his complete attention and he's off in a daydream. In the real world, his dad has disappeared (Kaline's scatterbrained mother says only, "He's not here") and bullies are making school miserable. When his mother reads him a newspaper article about "grown up" tree houses, his imagination is off and running, creating a dream tree house filled with interesting objects, 100 puppies, and two cool older brothers who understand him perfectly. However, Kaline may need some real-world help to deal with his problems. His perceptions and actions are often hilarious, and the story offers a great look into the mind of someone who marches to a different drummer. No mention is made of a disability, but those familiar with ADHD might make a connection to Kaline's behavior. Fortunately he has parents (Dad has moved out but makes an appearance at the end) and a kindly neighbor who, while they develop different strategies for dealing with him, love him exactly the way he is. Kaline is a real, likable character and is reminiscent of a younger Joey Pigza. Readers will enjoy stepping into his imaginary world, empathize with his troubles, and cheer him on throughout the story.-Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

At the beginning of third grade, Kaline Klattermaster has a lot of troubles. His father has disappeared from home, and Kaline's ditzy mother won't say where he is. At school Kaline is tormented by bullies and needs to follow all sorts of rules, such as keeping his bottom on his seat and writing "consistently" with the same hand. When things become overwhelming, Kaline escapes into an imaginary world, where he has a magnificent tree house and two friendly older brothers. In her children's fiction debut, bestselling novelist Kimmel (A Girl Named Zippy) creates some memorable moments, especially near the end, when Kaline bonds with Mr. Osiris Putnaminski, his eccentric white-haired neighbor, who looks "like a CRAZY SANTA CLAUS" and provides help when it's needed most. However, the narrative abruptly jumps from Kaline's fantasies to his down-to-earth concerns about family and school; the shifts are problematic and confusing. Gimmicky devices (like the frequent use of capitalization) are more distracting than effective, and at times Kaline comes off as much younger than his years. His mispronunciation of words ("pangemonia," "The Declamation of Inkpendence") and academic struggles contradict the precociousness offered as an explanation for his having started school a year early; if anything he seems to have some sort of disability. However much readers may sympathize with Kaline's circumstances, they are likely to have trouble relating to the character and understanding what makes him tick. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"'Oh, ' said Mr. P., 'imagination is a very perfect thing indeed.' And Kaline Klattermaster, a third grader and Mr. P.'s neighbor, has a whole lot of that. Kaline is the kid who colors outside the line. Way outside! "Kaline Klattermaster's Tree House" is about the rich inner life of the creative mind. Haven Kimmel, in her unmistakable style, takes you on a hilarious ride. I loved it." - Eric Carle, creator of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"

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