April 11, 2019

The Tallest Tree House

Written and illustrated by Elly MacKay
Running Press Kids
32 pp.
Ages 4-8
April 2019

Mip, the red mushroom-capped fairy, is a true kinesthete. She's always on the move, singing, flying and building. Her impetuousness has her challenging Pip, her book-loving, contemplative fairy friend to a tree house race after she sees him reading a book on architecture.
From The Tallest Tree House by Elly MacKay
Mip is all at it immediately, determined to make the tallest tree house ever and by sundown. Pip, on the other hand, sits on his rock among the Trillium, Erythronium and Aquilegia, and plans his build with precision and thoughtfulness.
From The Tallest Tree House by Elly MacKay
Slowly the two tree houses start to take shape, as Mip frantically and rather haphazardly builds and builds while Pip slowly but methodically creates his own.
From The Tallest Tree House by Elly MacKay
When "Gusts of wind send sprays of mist over the rocks" and "The leaves began to dance," Pip suggests Mip secure her tower. Of course Mip sees this as a ploy to slow her down and continues building. But when the wind and rain topple her tower into Pip's tree house and traps his wing, Mip comes to the rescue. Then, after the storm has passed, the two work together on a new tree house that incorporates both their structures into "a winning piece of architecture."

As her website's name and Twitter handle can attest, Elly MacKay truly creates theatre in the clouds. Through a laborious process that may appear to be like play–see full details at her website hereElly MacKay blends inked figures and other structures cut from paper into a theatre in which she can manipulate the layers and lighting. It's a stunning blend of two-dimensional creations with three dimensions. Children are fascinated by the textures that come from her artwork and have been charmed by it in her picture books from If You Hold a Seed (Running Press, 2013) to her latter works including Butterfly Park (Running Press, 2015) and Red Sky at Night (Tundra, 2018). Couple that art with fairies and a competition that transforms into cooperation and partnership and The Tallest Tree House becomes a winner for all readers.
From The Tallest Tree House by Elly MacKay

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