Kaline Klattermaster LOVES his mom. ADORES his mom. But his mom can be, well, a bit forgetful sometimes. A bit lax. A bit...CRAZY. For instance, she's a bit crazy when she leaves him in the tub for THREE HOURS. Or gives him a chicken leg for breakfast...or forgets that he needs to go to school. AND he's not completely sure his mother understands how time works.
She's been even a bit MORE CRAZY since his dad left. So it's a very good thing that the folks in Kaline's tree house are not so crazy. They understand him. They don't mind that he sometimes HAS to play his pretend bugle, and, of course, they are FULL of good advice on how to handle bullies.
His mom hints that the tree house is imaginary. Kaline is UNCONVINCED.
The New York Times bestselling author of A Girl Named Zippy is delighted to introduce Kaline Klattermaster, a little boy who understands the importance of a few good friends -- make-believe OR otherwise.
At the beginning of third grade, Kaline Klattermaster has a lot of troubles. His father has disappeared from home, and Kaline's ditzy mother won't say where he is. At school Kaline is tormented by bullies and needs to follow all sorts of rules, such as keeping his bottom on his seat and writing consistently with the same hand. When things become overwhelming, Kaline escapes into an imaginary world, where he has a magnificent tree house and two friendly older brothers. In her children's fiction debut, bestselling novelist Kimmel (A Girl Named Zippy) creates some memorable moments, especially near the end, when Kaline bonds with Mr. Osiris Putnaminski, his eccentric white-haired neighbor, who looks like a CRAZY SANTA CLAUS and provides help when it's needed most. However, the narrative abruptly jumps from Kaline's fantasies to his down-to-earth concerns about family and school; the shifts are problematic and confusing. Gimmicky devices (like the frequent use of capitalization) are more distracting than effective, and at times Kaline comes off as much younger than his years. His mispronunciation of words ( pangemonia, The Declamation of Inkpendence ) and academic struggles contradict the precociousness offered as an explanation for his having started school a year early; if anything he seems to have some sort of disability. However much readers may sympathize with Kaline's circumstances, they are likely to have trouble relating to the character and understanding what makes him tick. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-12.