"I'm Up in a Tree" book review and giveaway

Call me corny, but one of the things I look for in a children's book is a sound moral message. I don't necessarily mean that every children's book needs a happy ending or a "good little boys and girls get rewarded" message, just some kind of idea that kids can take away with them, some kind of reinforcement , however subliminal, that can build up their value system. I was recently sent a copy of Mark Alden Johnson's “I’m Up in a Tree” to review, and I think this is a book that definitely passes that test. Here's what I thought about the book:

The Basics
Here's what the publishers have to say about the book:
Told in a lyrical rhyming style, Mark Alden Johnson’s “I’m Up in a Tree” (Bridgeway Books, January 2010) follows a little boy who climbs a tree for fun, only to realize he is scared to get down. As he sits high in the branches, various creatures that live in the tree approach him and advise him on how to get his feet back on the ground. Birds tell him to fly out of the tree, bees suggest he jump from the branch and a cat proposes he climb down. It is up to the little boy to decide if he should heed their advice, or trust his instincts and wait for his dad to help him. “I’m Up in a Tree” is a fun way to teach kids early to resist peer pressure and make their own choices.

The Bongga
I wasn't too excited to open up this book (and the next section of my review explains why), but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed reading this story. Not being about to get down from a tree is a situation that any kid can imagine finding himself in, so it really held their interest. My kids enjoyed listening to the book, and since the rhyming patterns were so simple, we were able to make a game out of guessing the last word in every verse. The talking animals provided some nice fantasy, but also illustrated an important concept: that bad advice doesn't necessarily come from evil people, it could also come from well-meaning but misguided friends.

The Blah
Although the story was fabulous, the cartoonish, 2-D illustrations left me, well, flat. First impressions are everything, and although the book has a nice, hardbound feel, the cover illustration looks amateurish. With a good illustrator, I think the visual appeal could be improved tremendously!

The Bottom Line
"I'm Up in a Tree" is an easy read with an exciting story and a great message: that even young kids can be faced with situations where they need to make good choices.

Win It!
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a copy of "I'm up in a Tree". To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and share one tip you have for teaching financial responsibility to kids.

For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

2) Leave a comment on any of my blog posts on Finding Bonggamom (leave a comment here with the link to the post that you commented on).

3) Join any of the other giveaways currently running on Bonggamom Finds (leave a comment here with the name of the other giveaway you joined).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Win a copy of "I'm Up in a Tree" from @bonggafinds http://tinyurl.com/ydppzsr

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on February 23, 2009; I will draw a winner at random on February 24 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book to review, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

25 Comments, Leave yours here:

Wehaf on February 5, 2010 at 7:04 PM said...

My tips is to practice what you preach - show your kids that you save, and budget, and make financial tradeoffs to get what you need and want.

urchiken at gmail dot com

Angela on February 6, 2010 at 4:49 AM said...

As soon as my son was born we opened a savings account for him so as he gets older we can show him how putting money in there adds up. He also has a piggy bank that itemizes the coins to make it fun to save change and count money. He is only 22 months old so, real lessons on saving still have to wait!

Angela on February 6, 2010 at 4:50 AM said...

I entered Stay put socks giveaway

joahsgrandma on February 6, 2010 at 7:56 AM said...

As soon as my kids got old enough to be picky about their clothes I gave them a clothing allowance. They had to buy their own shirts/pants and other misc stuff. I was amazed at how well they 'shopped' and how quickly they lost interest in name brands.

joahsgrandma on February 6, 2010 at 7:57 AM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joahsgrandma on February 6, 2010 at 7:59 AM said...

I'm a facebook fan (sandy miresse)

joahsgrandma on February 6, 2010 at 8:00 AM said...

Tweet. http://twitter.com/slmiresse/status/8726443381

joahsgrandma on February 6, 2010 at 8:01 AM said...

I entered Feeding Penny Pig.

Susan on February 6, 2010 at 2:03 PM said...

I make sure my daughter knows the value of money she has to spend her own money on little trinkets, and I have seen her buy less..

Darlene on February 6, 2010 at 4:12 PM said...

When children have money give them choices about how it is spent and help them realize if they choose one option they won't get one of the others.

cstironkat on February 6, 2010 at 6:16 PM said...

We opened up a child's saver account at our bank. We also help them make wise choices regarding their spending.

cstironkat on February 6, 2010 at 6:17 PM said...

I entered your Chocolate Cheerios gift pack giveaway.

moushka on February 8, 2010 at 5:22 PM said...

Give your child a dollar. Then take them to the store and ask them to pick out something they would like to buy with that dollar. Then tell them how much it is and figure out much more money they need to buy it. It really puts it into perspective how money works. Then you can focus on teaching them how save for the things they want/need.

Kristy on February 10, 2010 at 9:57 AM said...

I try to teach my 3 year old about saving and tithing!

Kristy on February 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM said...

Facebook fan!
Kristy Sutherland

Kristy on February 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM said...

Entered stay put socks giveaway!

Kristy on February 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM said...

Entered Chocolate cheerios giveaway!

Kristy on February 10, 2010 at 9:59 AM said...

Entered feeding penny pig giveaway!

cornelio03 on February 10, 2010 at 11:18 PM said...

I teach my daughter to differentiate between "needs" and "wants". In so doing I reinforce to her the value of saving for a greater need rather than spending all the money she has for something she can do without.

cornelio.mallare @ gmail.com

cornelio03 on February 10, 2010 at 11:20 PM said...

I entered CURLS Valentine's Giveaway!

cornelio.mallare @ gmail.com

Kristy on February 11, 2010 at 9:51 AM said...

Entered Curls giveaway!

Kristy on February 13, 2010 at 10:00 AM said...

Entered eye cream giveaway!

Marianna on February 17, 2010 at 7:24 PM said...

I make my kids save, give and spend a portion of all the money they receive for gifts or from allowance/chores.
mannasweeps (at) gmail DOT com

Marianna on February 17, 2010 at 7:24 PM said...


bonggamom on March 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM said...

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winner: #25, Marianna!

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