View from the Cherry Tree



Exciting but flawed murder mystery for tweens.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Every character in this book is self-centered. Adults don't listen to, or seem to care much about, their own children.


A boy witnesses a gruesome death that may have been a murder. An old woman abuses a boy.

Not applicable

A cat is called S.O.B.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A criminal sells drugs. Smoking, beer drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that all the adults in this story are depicted as insensitive, uncaring, and self-centered. The child is no better, and this is never resolved. Also, the main character, a young boy, sees a woman die by hanging.

What's the story?

Rob likes to hang out in his cherry tree, especially now that his family is obsessed with his sister's wedding. He can get away and hide, but has a good view and can eavesdrop. One of the things he can see is the house of his nasty old neighbor, Mrs. Calloway. He even has a clear view of her when she falls out of her first-floor window and dies hanging from the branch of his tree by the strap of her binoculars.

Rob is sure he saw the hand of a man push her out the window, but no one will believe him -- or even listen to him. But someone is listening. Even when he is shot at and nearly poisoned, no one pays attention. But the murderer is after Rob -- and he has no one to rely on but himself.

Is it any good?


The first thing your kids will notice is that this is an exciting, suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat thriller with a climax that will keep them glued to the pages. The first thing you will notice is that this all sounds awfully familiar, starting with Aesop. But no matter -- it's good fun. After they finish, though, your kids may have a delayed, "Wait a minute ..." reaction, as they realize the plot makes little sense.

But even the gaping plot holes can be an opportunity for you to help your kids be more critical readers. This book can help them learn to go beyond merely accepting what the author tells them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way the family treats Rob. Why aren't they more concerned about him? Why won't anyone listen to him? Why are they so obsessed with the wedding? Also, discussion of the flaws in the plot can sharpen critical reading skills.

Book details

Author:Willo Davis Roberts
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:July 1, 1998
Number of pages:181
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:9
Read alone:9

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old October 5, 2010


WHOEVER SAID IT WASN'T GOOD FOR 10 YEAR OLDS IS NOT VERY BRIGHT! I know about drugs because my dad's a cop. Kids should know what they are. It won't hurt them to know what the real world is.It was a fantastic read to me. I've never read a mystery as well written as this one. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old June 6, 2014

Amazingly put together

Amazing things and problems happen and its great. I love the fact that it have murder, weddings, and jail. Its put together perfectly. I said its good for 11 yrs and older. I love it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old June 3, 2014

Very Well Written

I don't know why everyone is saying this book is not good! I loved it! Sure there is some swearing and other things, but its still a great book. I mean who doesn't love a good mystery? I think this is a great book besides some mild violence and a few swear words. Everybody in the story is described very well and I never expected the murderer to be who it actually is. There is a lot to this book that makes so amazing!
What other families should know
Great messages


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