A new series, Tree Street Kids, hit middle-grade bookshelves in April, and it’s a winner.
Although aimed at ages 8-12, readership may skew toward the younger end of the range because the series’ main character is 10. But two things will engage readers of any age—the action-packed plots and memorable characters.
Set in a suburban neighborhood near Chicago in the 1990s (where the street names are Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Pine), the books also give today’s readers a look at the cultural times their parents may have grown up in.
In book 1, Jack vs. the Tornado, Jack deals with the shock of his family’s move from his grandparents’ farm—the only home he’s ever known—to a house in the suburbs. He hatches a plan to save the farm and tries to resist putting down roots, even with new friends Ellison, Roger, and Ruthie, but a neighbor in need, a shocking discovery, and a tornado all interfere with Jack’s scheme. He’s confronted with the need to reassess and discovers that God had a better plan all along.
In book 2, The Hunt for Fang, Jack and his friends learn survival skills at church camp, and just in time. To find Ruthie’s missing cat and protect Jack’s puppy from Fang, a prowling coyote, they venture deep into nearby woods. But it’s Midge, Jack’s devoted little sister, who becomes the object of Jack’s search, and Jack must test his survival skills as well as his trust in God.
Woven into these stories are themes of friendship, family, individual differences, bullying, and growing in faith. And while Jack and his friends have more freedom than many children their age today, they operate in a world where caring and responsible adults are in charge. I found myself wanting to know these people more!
Kids will enjoy recognizing or learning about Ellison’s Bookmarks (and his frequent quotations) from classic middle-grade novels as well as Midge’s Phenomenal Facts (fun scientific trivia) and Roger’s Riveting History notes—all interspersed throughout the books.
More Tree Street Kids books are planned for next year!
Jack vs. the Tornado (192 pages)
The Hunt for Fang (240 pages)
written by Amanda Cleary Eastep
published by Moody Publishers (2021)
paperback, 5 x 0.48 x 7 inches
Making God’s wonders known to the next generation,