Telling a story from an animal’s point of view can be tricky to pull off – especially in a book written for adults. It almost immediately raises the concern that the book will fail, due to an overdose of cuteness. And yes, The Eyes In The Tree is cute, at times, but it is also a charming tale and one that manages to relate all kinds of information about the animal kingdom.
This is the story of six chickens – two Plymouth Barred Rocks, two Silver-Laced Wyandottes and one Buff Orpington and one Rhode Island Red – who are adopted as chicks and taken to live on a farm belonging to a kindly, animal-loving couple. Given names to fit their characteristics, they explore freely by day, and spend nights in their custom-built coop.
The chickens learn about life and about other animals and predators. But there’s a bigger picture here, one that tells of the need for kindness and caring for each other. “You can’t give into fear,” explains a little fowl. “It will paralyze you until you are afraid to move. On this farm … all the animals look out for each other. The horses, squirrels … alert us to danger. That is our best defense … Until the alarm is sounded, live your lives, relax, enjoy yourselves.”
On the surface, this is a book about six silly, whiny, boastful chickens growing up, and it does occasionally push the cute factor. But the bigger message underlying this tale,which speaks to the importance of good, kind care for animals, more than compensates for it. This is a book that will surely make animal lovers smile –and occasionally cringe, such as when talk turns to instances of animal cruelty or neglect. But it’s also a tale anyone looking to be entertained, animal lover or not, might enjoy.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.