Description: The view from the cherry tree
File name: The view from the cherry tree
The Book: The View from the Cherry Tree, by Willo Davis Roberts
The Banhammer: It "contain[s] vulgar words...and with the way this book would teach 12-year-olds that its OK to treat elderly people like the lady in the book was treated." It's also been challenged because of violence and being age-inappropriate. Information from here; sadly I can't find any slightly more reputable sources, but I've seen these reasons confirmed in at least three disreputable sources unconnected with each other.
My Reaction: At first blush, I really liked this book. I mean, I started reading it in the bathtub round about 12:15- I figured I could knock out a few chapters and then go to bed. Yeah, I was in there until I finished the book. My fingers are very pruney because the plot is so well done and the pacing so good. After a point, that is. The book starts pretty slow.
Quick plot summary: Rob is a quiet, observational kid who spends a lot of time in the cherry tree in his front yard, just watching the neighborhood go by. His sister Darcy is getting married the next day, so he's spending even more time in the tree than usual, and this time he's peering into the house of his next-door neighbor, cranky and really nasty Mrs. Calloway. Poor kid's just trying to keep his cat out of Mrs. Calloway's house and away from her goldfish when he witnesses Mrs. Calloway's murder. And then it becomes obvious that someone is trying to kill him. Rob spends the rest of the book just trying to get someone to frickin' listen to him.
I really sympathized with his frustration and fear, and he seemed like a generally good kid, if your average eleven-year-old. And I really did race through this book. Still, after thinking about it, the book reads very young to me. Which is fine, of course; it's aimed at fifth graders. Still, for an adult there's something missing, particularly in the rather abrupt ending. I was also annoyed that no one apologized to Rob for ignoring and disbelieving him at the end of the book. I mean, cripes, the poor kid just had four separate attempts made on his life that day, and all he got was shouted at and confined to his room for his trouble. The least they could do is apologize.
Do I Buy Its Banning? Eh, kinda? The cat's name is literally S.O.B., though it's never written out, so the vulgarity is there at least in implication, and there's definitely violence, and an elderly character is treated negatively, but she at least came off way more as just a generally nasty person rather than "this is how you should treat the elderly." Really, I think they're reading way too much into this book. It's a straightforward thriller for kids. It is unlikely to result in a spate of mistreating elderly folks, especially since the murder had a fairly direct motive that had nothing whatsoever to do with Mrs. Calloway's status as an elderly woman, or indeed, her status as anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, yeah. Reading too much into it but the evidence is, at least on the surface, there.
Would I Recommend It? Sure? It's fun, it obviously is very well constructed, and it's a fun, quick read. Just be aware that you may be left wanting at the end.
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