The Eyes in the Tree
by Carolyn VanderBeek

"Tonight they can sleep in their new digs. Tomorrow, free range."

One day, a man visits a pet store to take home a bunch of chickens. The reader never learns the name of this man—referred to only as the Master—but it becomes obvious that along with his wife—the Mistress—he is extremely kind. One particular chick, a "little girl" named Blondos, is the narrator and a self-important, boastful one at that. However, all the "little girls," including Blondos, are scared about what they're going to find when they reach their new home, especially because they still don't know what the words "eggs" and "fryers" mean. When Blondos meets the owner of the eyes in the tree, he is his usual cocky self, but gradually he comes around as he realizes how everyone on the farm must work together if they want to survive. But they soon realize that they had nothing to fear and will spend the rest of their lives being loved.

VanderBeek manages to create humorous characters who sometimes get themselves into the most precarious situations. It's seeing all the animals help each other that really make The Eyes in the Tree such a heartwarming tale. The chapters are short and easy to read, and it's obvious how much the author cares for animals, although some chapters become preachy, with long and unnatural conversations between the Master and Mistress about how important it is to abide by certain methods when raising animals. The book would benefit from a few illustrations sprinkled throughout. Therefore, the lack of illustration makes this book more appealing to older children and adults.

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