Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Gabriel Alborozo
Illustrator: Gabriel Alborozo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Like many siblings, Flora and Will have their differences, especially when it comes to playtime. Will acts out alien invasions, takes rocket-ships to Pluto, and escapes from mummies. Flora keeps her distance, appearing to prefer drawing to Will’s adventures. One day, Will trespasses past Flora’s “No Wills Allowed” sign on the treehouse. In disbelief, he watches Flora pull drawing after drawing from the tree house walls, each one describing Will’s imaginary escapades. She has been paying attention all along and even inventing her own adventures. Impressed and flattered, Will recognizes that Flora could make a good playmate and reluctant Flora decides it would be fun to get in on the action of a pirate adventure.
Flora’s Tree House offers a creative look at sibling relationships, showing that children can benefit from each other’s strengths and interests. Dialogue carries the plot, lending the book a more childlike tone and making more realistic characters. With Flora as the artist, the illustrations provide the meat of the story. The main conflict of Flora and Will’s distant relationship could have played a stronger role, but is given depth and clarity by reviewing previous scenes that Will directed and Flora drew from the sidelines. Setting the book in this flashback structure, rather than in real time, is a sophisticated quality for a picture book, and this technique makes it unique and successful.