Boy In The Treetops
Dr. Sam Newsome (Author), Erica White (Illustrator)
DW Beam Publishing (2021)
Reviewed by Ashley Hooker for Reader Views (08/2022)
Dr. Sam Newson has brought to life the legends of the Outer Banks of NC. He grew up in North Carolina, so he has personal knowledge of the setting he chose for “Boy in the Treetops.” The story begins on the Hiatt plantation in 1812. In the whitewashed row of slave houses, a young boy named Sammy prepares for his new job as the houseboy. He is excited because he won’t have to be in the fields where it’s hot and the days are long.
As Sammy grows, he understands he is a slave boy who is about to be a man fit for the fields. After the loss of his brother, he decides it’s time to leave the plantation. His journey finds him taking on the identity of his dead brother. In a twist of fate, he and his new friend Bird begin a new life on the ship Mirabelle. Sammy, who becomes Johnny, becomes stuck in a tree as a storm takes the Mirabelle farther out to sea. Then we fast forward.
The Triplett family are facing hard times and make the move to the Outer Banks. The Triplett family has a long history of living at the Outer Banks. James finds a job at the Sailor’s Rest retirement facility. His son Benji accompanies him and makes friends with Charles Murphy. Mr. Triplett’s son JJ who is 4, has an imaginary friend whose name is Johnny and has a parrot named Bird. JJ’s parents think he is a typical young child who has an imaginary friend.
Life is coming together when a hurricane threatens to hit the Outer Banks. The entire area makes appropriate plans for evacuation. When the evacuation order comes, Mrs. Triplett, JJ, and their daughter Kelsey get across the bridge. Mr. Triplett goes to work to prepare the evacuation of Sailors Rest’s residents. Benji leaves with Mr. Murphy, who we now know is a greedy man. His plan to become rich puts Benji in danger, but there is a boy in the treetops that provides protection.
I absolutely loved this book. My hometown is in Surry County, NC. I spent many vacations on the Outer Banks. Dr. Newsome is also a Carolina boy and therefore does a fantastic job describing the culture, traditions, and geography of this area. The way he ties all the parts of this story together is amazing. His writing was free of grammatical errors and easy to read.
“Boy In the Treetops” is written for young adults. It certainly is a book for the whole family. I plan to let my kids read this book and would recommend this one for the bookshelves at home or the local library.