There were flowers and fruits on the branches, and butterflies, bees and little birds among them… It was just like any other tree. But if you looked closely, you could see, at the bottom of the tree, a little door hidden among the knotty roots.
One of my goals for this year was to read more translated fiction and I can officially say that I have been successful with this goal in the sense that I have read more translated fiction this year than any other year previously. However just because I have been successful so far with this goal I didn’t want to just stop there so you could imagine my excitement when Will at Alma Books got in touch about some new books that were available for review, on let say not the funniest of days in Britain (post-election day) – which definitely made that day ten times better because let’s face it what day isn’t better when books are involved. So, once again I would like to thank Will at Alma Books for being so kind and sending me this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.
The House in the Tree was written by Bianca Pitzorno and first published in Italian in 1999. The edition that I read was published in 2017 and was translated by Stephen Parkin. The story centres on (Official Blurb): “All children dream of having a secret house where they can live on their own, far from any rules and regulations. But not all of them are as lucky as Aglaia, who lives at the top of a magical tree together with her friend Bianca and an incredible host of flying dogs, talking cats, carnivorous flowers and children who speak in verse.”
The first thing that I have to say about this book is the fact it gave me such major Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton vibes. Not only did it give me Faraway Tree vibes but it is also beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake which was not only a perfect companion for this story but it also gave me major Roald Dahl vibes as well. So straight away if anyone is a fan of either of these authors then I would definitely recommend you picking up a copy of this book.
Secondly, The House in the Tree was just a wonderful children’s book that encompasses childhood imagination just perfectly. This book had just the right amount of intrigue for children as well as this it had the ability to show the wonders of the imagination just brilliantly. Throughout the whole of this small book you could just feel and sense the warmth, fun and gentleness that filled every page. This book also showed the reader that simple things are not always what they seem and can actually be a lot more complex than they might first appear. Even though the edition I read was the translated edition and not the original I loved the fact that you could still see and hear the Italian voice coming through on every page of the novel.
What a beautiful tree, signed Aglaia as she stared up at it. But no one knew that she lived in a house it its branches. This was a secret shared between her, Bianca and Mr Beccaris Brullo.
For me, personally the tree within The House in the Tree came across like a sanctuary for the wonderful, quirky and at times weird characters and creatures that inhabited it.
Overall, The House in the Tree was such a well-written; magically fantasy- esque children’s book that had elements and themes of adventure, nature, imagination and happiness. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an enjoyable, easy to read, sweet and fun children’s book.
The edition that I read was published by Alma Books (2017)
(Image is my own please do not copy/take without permission first)