The Great Treehouse War

The Great Treehouse War
Written by Lisa Graff

Publisher’s Summary:
Fifth-grader Winnie, with notes from her friends, writes of turning her treehouse into an embassy after her newly-divorced parents become unreasonable, where she is joined by nine others with complaints.

Primary Source Pairing:
Winnie’s treehouse is her safe place from the wacky world around her. It becomes a safe place for her classmates, too. And here begins the story The Great Treehouse War. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study an image of a pretty epic treehouse in New River Gorge in West Virginia. Encourage students to make connections to what they see in the image and Winnie’s treehouse from the book.

Photographer Carol M. Highsmith includes this caption with her photograph:

A gigantic “treehouse,” actually the San Francisco-based Mithun architecture firm’s freestanding, steel-frame-supported Sustainability Treehouse that is often even more hidden amid the evergreens, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, site of annual National Scout Jamboree (and sometimes international scouting retreats as well) in the sprawling wilderness near the tiny town of Glen Jean and the New River Gorge in West Virginia.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • Make a connection with what you see in this image to Winnie’s treehouse in the book The Great Treehouse War.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“Gigantic Treehouse” photograph taken by Carol M. Highsmith: Library of Congress