Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Eleven-year-old Bree is happiest when she's climbing the trees at Cedar Grove, her urban townhouse complex. She's the best climber around, even better than an older boy, Tyler, who drives her crazy with his competitiveness. When Ethan, a younger boy, falls from a tree and hurts his elbow, the neighborhood council bans all tree-climbing in Cedar Grove. If Bree chooses to ignore the bylaw, her family could be kicked out of their home, so she vows to change the rule instead. After giving a presentation to the Neighborhood Council, she realizes this is not a battle she can win on her own, but rallying the Cedar Grove troops is more difficult than she imagined.
About the author
Yolanda Ridge is the author of the middle-grade novel Inside Hudson Pickle and the juvenile nonfiction title CRISPR: A Powerful Way to Change DNA, both of which were Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections. She has also written two environment-themed novels for Orca Young Readers line, Trouble in the Trees and Road Block. She has a master of science degree and is adept at making complex concepts understandable—a skill she uses in her writing, teaching and author visits. She lives in Rossland, British Columbia.
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
- Short-listed, CYBIL Award nominee
Excerpt: Trouble in the Trees (by (author) Yolanda Ridge)
I sat on a branch near the trunk and let my feet swing freely below me. It felt good to be surrounded by big green leaves. I heard a bee buzz by my ear, lured by the sweet smell of tree sap. It was one of those cloudy Vancouver days where the gray sky seemed close enough to reach up and touch. The clouds were like a blanket that warmed the air without any help from the sun. I felt like I could hide away on this branch forever.
"Continues the standard of excellence of other titles in this series...This book not only discusses issues of courage, public speaking, friendship, and boy-girl relationships, but also introduces the basic workings of council meetings...It's also nice to see girls taking part in sports and outperforming the boys with no apologies. Bree is a great role model for young girls who want to try different things, and make their communities a better place to live."
"This book will help teach young readers about the political process and how it can affect our daily lives...The short chapters and larger text will appeal to those who are making the transition to chapter books. Recommended."
Library Media Connection
"Bree is a likeable and round character, and her voice rings true as a child frustrated with the world of adults. All the child characters are distinct, and Ridge brings an honesty to their conversations and thoughts. Some of the strongest scenes in the book happen when the children get together to try and affect change; there is not complete agreement immediately, and each character's motivations and personality comes through in scenes of dialogue. The portrayals of relationships are realistic, and Ridge provides readers with a strong girl protagonist who is thoughtful and adventurous. Bree's sheer frustration of trying to affect change in the bylaw, alongside her confusion at the changing boy-girl relationships in her life, make the reader empathetic to her situation...Recommended."
Trouble in the TreesBrianna loves to climb trees and she’s good at it but when her friend Ethan falls and hurts himself, tree climbing is forbidden in the townhouse complex where they live. Bree decides to fight the by-law and makes a presentation to the council. When that fails she organizes a protest. Annoyed by one boy’s constant teasing and her best friend’s strange behaviour around boys, Bree finds a way to climb anyway. Eventually many of the children are taking secret lessons in tree climbing and Bree and Ethan make a final pitch to the AGM of the complex. As she tries to find a way to make the adults change their minds, Bree hones her leadership and teaching skills and discovers new avenues of friendship.
Safety in tree climbing is stressed throughout the book.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2011-2012.