View from the Cherry Tree
By Matt Berman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Exciting but flawed murder mystery for tweens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Every character in this book is self-centered. Adults don't listen to, or seem to care much about, their own children.
Violence & Scariness
A boy witnesses a gruesome death that may have been a murder. An old woman abuses a boy.
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A cat is called S.O.B.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A criminal sells drugs. Smoking, beer drinking.
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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.
Where to Read
Based on 2 parent reviews
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Not fit for ages intended, maybe for ages over 13
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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.
Talk to Your Kids 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.
- Author: Willo Davis Roberts
- Genre: Mystery
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication date: July 1, 1998
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 181
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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