Inside the Tree by C. J. Milbrandt
Ewan Johns has to raise money for three train tickets, so he takes a job in Charter. While he’s at work, Tamaqua and Juniata discover that the big, old tree on the village green is being used as a mailbox.
Nightmares and secrets. Ewan wished he knew what had happened to these girls before he found them.
Inside the Tree is the fifth in the Byways series, and follows Ewan, the eldest of the three Johns brothers. These books are for young children beginning to read chapter books, but the way it reads you’d never know. The vocabulary isn’t “dumbed down” for children, and reads naturally, unlike a lot of kid’s books which often seem stilted.
What I loved most about Inside the Tree was the affection between Ewan and these two little girls. They’re just starting to get to know each other, but the level of trust and affection is completely heartwarming. There’s also a suspenseful element to the story, knowing that Tamaqua and Juniata are definately hiding something big while stumbling into yet another secret in the town of Charter.
Every day, they gave him new reasons to smile, laugh, worry, and wonder.
This review would be incomplete without a nod to the educational element to all of the Byways Books. When you reach the end of this story, there’s a long list of United States facts, cities, counties, and fun facts that have been hidden like Easter eggs throughout the story. I had to go back and re-read the book again to try and find all of the places and things taken from the fifth U. S. state of Connecticut.
⬢ ⬢ ⬢ ⬢ ⬢ FIVE STARS
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