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Tree Castle Island

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Book by Jean Craighead George

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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5 17 commentaires
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 My favorite Jean Craighead George book 2 avril 2015
Par Kindle Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Really enjoyed this book for the way the hero keeps dealing with his problems. It's a bit contrived, as others have noted, but still a very absorbing read. If you like "My Side of the Mountain" for the hero's ingenuity and hard work, you'll like this one.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An Okey-Dokey Okefenokee Story 30 décembre 2005
Par Dwight Blubaugh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Cahier
Having finished reading almost all of Jean Craighead George's 90-some books, I have lots to compare this book to. For reading enjoyment and strength of story, George's book are of uneven quality. However, when it comes to teaching about science, the outdoors, plant and animal life, and ecology, her books can't be beat.

Tree Castle Island is a story that works pretty well in many ways, while not as well in a couple others. In the story, Jack is a 14-year-old boy who is visiting his Uncle Hamp while his parents are in Europe. Hamp lives on the St. Mary's River, one of the two rivers fed by Georgia's massive Okefenokee Swamp, just north of the Florida border (Rand McNally Atlas's Georgia map helped me put the layout of the story in perspective, as the places mentioned in the story are real). While Hamp is away for a couple weeks, leaving Jack by himself, Jack decides to paddle his homemade canoe upriver to explore the Okefenokee, following his "sun daughter" in hopes of finding the long-lost Paradise Island. When an alligator bites a hole into the canvas sealing his canoe, he becomes stranded on an island far out in the Okefenokee. Rather than being upset about this, he's somewhat pleased to be out in the wilderness on his own, and he sees it as a challenge.

At this point, the book becomes almost like a retelling of George's My Side of the Mountain in many ways - Jack needs to use simple tools and nature to live off the land, which he does very successfully with his knowledge of nature. As a story, rather than seeming like a boring rehash of her earlier book, this works well because Jack's in a very different environment than Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain (meaning the problems, techniques, and wildlife are different), and because in Tree Castle Island, this process seems a bit more realistic than in parts of My Side of the Mountain - more like what a real 14-year-old could / would actually accomplish.

After Jack gets somewhat settled in on the island, the story begins to exhibit amazing coincidences, straining its credibility greatly - if the reader can overlook these, the story is still quite enjoyable, but I can understand how some readers might be put off by them. As Jack becomes desperate for food, he finds a bear that has just died (still warm), and shortly afterward encounters a dog that looks almost exactly like his and answers to the name of Dizzy, which is also the name of his dog. He finds that the dog belongs to a boy named Jake who is camping on the island, an adopted boy who looks, thinks, and acts just like him. As obvious as it quickly becomes to the reader, it takes the boys quite awhile to figure out that they are identical twins, separated at birth. Jack becomes angry that his parents never told him he was adopted, and uses this as a further reason to drop out of society for awhile and remain on the island with Jake. Working together, the boys quickly construct a multi-part treehouse that would make Robinson Crusoe jealous (their "Tree Castle," mentioned in the title). Later in the story, while he is a hundred miles from his Uncle Hamp's, Jack coincidentally meets Jake's girlfriend, who mistakes him for Jake. All these coincidences can be quite hard to swallow at times. What IS more realistic is when Jack and Jake begin comparing their habits, hobbies, and likes - those readers who have heard about separated twin studies know that genetics can make separated twins turn out to be very similar in many ways, and this story illustrates that well.

Along the way, we learn much about the Okefenokee - George's description is rich and often left me with a clear picture of the swamp. We also learn about the plant and animal life of the area, ways to survive off the land, how to navigate your way out of the swamp if you're lost (find a current and follow it downstream), the history of the swamp and islands (once criss-crossed by railroads seeking lumber and inhabited by settlers), the power of genetics (nature vs. nurture), how to cure chronic diarrhea (which Jack uses to save a sick bear cub from dying - the same simple cure used in African nations where diarrhea has been a leading killer of babies), and many other lessons. If you try to imagine a wilderness survival guide (such as Jean's older twin brothers, Frank and John Craighead, wrote for the military during WWII), written as a children's novel, Tree Castle Island would meet this description fairly well. George did a great job fitting SO much story and information into so few pages. Anything lacking in the "story" aspect of this book is more than made up for by its other elements.

If you know of a young reader who has an interest in science and nature, steering them into Jean C. George's books is certain to further their interest immensely - it would not be a stretch to say it might well even influence their educational / career path. Start asking around, as I have, and you'll be amazed at how many people read and loved My Side of the Mountain and / or other JCG books while growing up. With one or more books published almost every year since 1948, it's hard to overstate what a tremendous impact George has had on children's literature and generations of readers.
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Book marred by being about an ungrateful little jerk 6 septembre 2010
Par Stephen - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is the first book I've read by Jean Craighead George. I was very impressed by the descriptions of nature, and enjoyed learning about the Okefenokee swamp. As another reviewer mentioned, there are incredible coincidences, but I think those can be overlooked more or less.

What's harder to overlook is the main character's self-absorption and selfishness. OK, I understand it would be a shock to discover that you were adopted and had been separated from your twin brother. I can understand being really enraged by that. I can see how it would really undercut your relationship with your parents (which Jack states to have been a loving one, though he already seems anxious to go live by himself for the rest of his life by the beginning of the book).

But even so, I would think that _somewhere_ in the many days he had to absorb this and think about it, the other side would at least briefly have presented itself: that his adoptive parents loved him and raised him so caringly that he never even suspected he wasn't their own, and that, while perhaps not telling him was a huge mistake, they probably deserve some forgiveness and consideration. Instead, even when he discovers that his parents never knew he had a twin, and that his mother loved him so much she had psychologically forgotten he wasn't hers, and even when she's standing there sobbing, he shows NO concern whatever for her or his father, but rushes by them to his real father and demands to come live with him. He then seems disappointed and skeptical when this does not come to fruition.

So yeah, I must say, that kind of ruined the book for me. I felt sorry for having engaged so much attention reading about the ungrateful little wretch, and was only sorry his twin was probably so similarly misanthropic.

Overall, then, an enjoyable read, but the character was so flawed that I ended up with no sympathy for him, and can't really recommend the book.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An Okey-Dokey Okefenokee Story 8 juillet 2009
Par Dwight Blubaugh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Having finished reading almost all of Jean Craighead George's 90-some books, I have lots to compare this book to. For reading enjoyment and strength of story, George's book are of uneven quality. However, when it comes to teaching about science, the outdoors, plant and animal life, and ecology, her books can't be beat.

Tree Castle Island is a story that works pretty well in many ways, while not as well in a couple others. In the story, Jack is a 14-year-old boy who is visiting his Uncle Hamp while his parents are in Europe. Hamp lives on the St. Mary's River, one of the two rivers fed by Georgia's massive Okefenokee Swamp, just north of the Florida border (Rand McNally Atlas's Georgia map helped me put the layout of the story in perspective, as the places mentioned in the story are real). While Hamp is away for a couple weeks, leaving Jack by himself, Jack decides to paddle his homemade canoe upriver to explore the Okefenokee, following his "sun daughter" in hopes of finding the long-lost Paradise Island. When an alligator bites a hole into the canvas sealing his canoe, he becomes stranded on an island far out in the Okefenokee. Rather than being upset about this, he's somewhat pleased to be out in the wilderness on his own, and he sees it as a challenge.

At this point, the book becomes almost like a retelling of George's My Side of the Mountain in many ways - Jack needs to use simple tools and nature to live off the land, which he does very successfully with his knowledge of nature. As a story, rather than seeming like a boring rehash of her earlier book, this works well because Jack's in a very different environment than Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain (meaning the problems, techniques, and wildlife are different), and because in Tree Castle Island, this process seems a bit more realistic than in parts of My Side of the Mountain - more like what a real 14-year-old could / would actually accomplish.

After Jack gets somewhat settled in on the island, the story begins to exhibit amazing coincidences, straining its credibility greatly - if the reader can overlook these, the story is still quite enjoyable, but I can understand how some readers might be put off by them. As Jack becomes desperate for food, he finds a bear that has just died (still warm), and shortly afterward encounters a dog that looks almost exactly like his and answers to the name of Dizzy, which is also the name of his dog. He finds that the dog belongs to a boy named Jake who is camping on the island, an adopted boy who looks, thinks, and acts just like him. As obvious as it quickly becomes to the reader, it takes the boys quite awhile to figure out that they are identical twins, separated at birth. Jack becomes angry that his parents never told him he was adopted, and uses this as a further reason to drop out of society for awhile and remain on the island with Jake. Working together, the boys quickly construct a multi-part treehouse that would make Robinson Crusoe jealous (their "Tree Castle," mentioned in the title). Later in the story, while he is a hundred miles from his Uncle Hamp's, Jack coincidentally meets Jake's girlfriend, who mistakes him for Jake. All these coincidences can be quite hard to swallow at times. What IS more realistic is when Jack and Jake begin comparing their habits, hobbies, and likes - those readers who have heard about separated twin studies know that genetics can make separated twins turn out to be very similar in many ways, and this story illustrates that well.

Along the way, we learn much about the Okefenokee - George's description is rich and often left me with a clear picture of the swamp. We also learn about the plant and animal life of the area, ways to survive off the land, how to navigate your way out of the swamp if you're lost (find a current and follow it downstream), the history of the swamp and islands (once criss-crossed by railroads seeking lumber and inhabited by settlers), the power of genetics (nature vs. nurture), how to cure chronic diarrhea (which Jack uses to save a sick bear cub from dying - the same simple cure used in African nations where diarrhea has been a leading killer of babies), and many other lessons. If you try to imagine a wilderness survival guide (such as Jean's older twin brothers, Frank and John Craighead, wrote for the military during WWII), written as a children's novel, Tree Castle Island would meet this description fairly well. George did a great job fitting SO much story and information into so few pages. Anything lacking in the "story" aspect of this book is more than made up for by its other elements.

If you know of a young reader who has an interest in science and nature, steering them into Jean C. George's books is certain to further their interest immensely - it would not be a stretch to say it might well even influence their educational / career path. Start asking around, as I have, and you'll be amazed at how many people read and loved My Side of the Mountain and / or other JCG books while growing up. With one or more books published almost every year since 1948, it's hard to overstate what a tremendous impact George has had on children's literature and generations of readers.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Loved it as a kid, and even now as an adult. 8 décembre 2013
Par Patricia C. Murray - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I read this book as a child and never forgot it, although I did forget the name. The images of the swamp, the alligators, the boy in the canoe, and the concept of survival on one's own fueled my imagination and love of the outdoors. I discovered the book again as an adult and now a fifth grade teacher. I read it aloud every year to my class and created a power point of the Okefenokee that helps bring the wildlife alive to the students, who have never seen a swamp or heard of a pitcher plant or a sundew. The first half of the book is a little slow in action, but the second half makes up for it. The kids in my classes always end up liking it, some of them will love it, depending on how into it they get.
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