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The House Above the Trees

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An orphan girl child is rejected by the human world and undertakes a journey through a magical forest. A wonderful fantasy written by Ethel Cook Eliot, first published in 1921. The illustrations include line drawings along with 5 color plates from Anne Anderson.

143 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1921

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Ethel Cook Eliot

14 books11 followers

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5 stars
101 (65%)
4 stars
36 (23%)
3 stars
14 (9%)
2 stars
2 (1%)
1 star
2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Alexis .
67 reviews34 followers
October 28, 2018
This is one of my favorite books ever. The story is beautiful and magical and I have loved it since I was little. The characters are memorable and lovely. I highly recommend to everyone!

Hepatica, a young lonely girl, sees a Wind Creature one day and follows him into the forest. From there, she meets Tree Mother who allows Hepatica to stay in the forest and meet the many people who live there. She has plenty of adventures and makes new comrades. When Tree Mother leaves the forest in Hepatica's care, she must be brave and step into Tree Mother's place and protect the people from the Beautiful Wicked Witch.

"Now we must jump," Tree Mother said.
"Right off the tree?" cried Hepatica.
"Yes, right off into the moonlight. That is the only way to get to my house. I will go first. You follow."
Profile Image for Chris.
832 reviews24 followers
September 1, 2018
A children's fantasy fairy story about a human girl who crosses into the forest and is pure of heart and mind enough to see the forest creatures and help the Tree Mother. Hepatica lets the forest speak through her and in doing so makes choices that help her on her path. A wonderful story. I enjoyed it very much.
Profile Image for Erin.
258 reviews9 followers
December 17, 2010
Simply magical! First published in 1921 this beautifully written fairy-tale type story is perfect for girls ages 7-10. The main character, a human Hepatica (named after a tiny woodland wildflower), escapes to the forest where she lives with Tree Mother, forest children, and wind creatures. It has a whimsical feel and talks a lot about nature.

I think both my girls will really enjoy this when I give it to them for book day. It is hard to find though. I found my copy at Chinaberry.com
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,287 reviews20 followers
June 21, 2022
The House Above the Trees is the second of Eliot's books that I've read. It's a lovely little fairy story, reminiscent of some of George MacDonald's stories and Kingsley's Water Babies. There's a richness to it that allows for digging through layers and for contemplating authorial intention and for wandering through symbolism, but there is such a beauty to the storytelling that you can float through and simply enjoy the telling if that's what you prefer.

I am officially putting all of Eliot's books on my to-buy list.
Profile Image for Kenneth Roman.
48 reviews14 followers
May 21, 2019
What an absolutely lovely little book, and what a hidden gem! This book just makes you smile and feel warm inside, what a beautiful read it was!
Profile Image for Christopher.
513 reviews17 followers
January 27, 2012
From the language and the imagery of the the forest people, I at first assumed this book to be of German origin. The mythology certainly seemed to be related to Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale. Other portions of the imagery seemed more reminiscent of Charles DeLint. Doing research however, I found that the author is from western Massachusetts and upstate New York and the book dates from the 1920s.

I will refrain from getting into the Freudian analysis of having an unloved orphan girl "whom no one will miss" wander off into the woods following a purple-winged Peter-Pan wanna-be (especially the scene where he teaches her to fly by letting go of her fears). Much of the book felt like a vaguely opium-induced day-dream. The whole things is a sort of tone-poem that never really results in much. I should not have been surprised or as annoyed to have the whol experience written off as a moment of passing time, since this story is not that far from the old tales of faerie meetings and abductions.
7 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2011
Read this book with my daughter when she was seven, and found myself completely enamored, immediately. There is a quiet, joyful, awe-inspiring spirituality about the magical forest in which Hepatica (the girl heroine) finds herself, as well as about the spirits of nature (Tree Mother, Cloud, the Wind Creature, and the Tree Girl) that become her playmates and temporary family. Within the forest, Hepatica finds her heart comforted, her sense of adventure kindled, and her confidence in herself nurtured. An absolutely beautiful story.
150 reviews
October 30, 2012
Fairy story set in the woods. I love the setting in the woods as being a friendly good place to be, unlike woods in many children's books where the woods are evil, bad places. Wait. Maybe that's why parents aren't letting their children go out on their own any more. We loved reading this together, daughter and I.
33 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2011
I have been reading this with my daughter and find it absolutely delightful. What a wonderful story and the writing it so enjoyable. Hepatica has become a favorite character of mine and such a sweet example of a heroine for my daughter.
October 1, 2013
I just love this magnificent fairy tale. Quin and I read it together several times and totally enjoyed it!

Now with her so far away in London, I picked it up again and was comforted by the story and the memories it envokes!
Profile Image for Quinn.
114 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2014
Really more like a 3.75... this was my "rebound" book after finishing The Darkest Minds. Very sweet and satisfying. Loved the writing style.
Profile Image for Marie :).
566 reviews1 follower
July 17, 2016
Have such fond memories of my mom reading this to me when I was in fifth grade as I was going to bed! Magical read with such soothing storytelling. It felt like a fairy tale! (May have read this in 2012 but I don't remember so I'm just placing the book here)
Profile Image for G.
132 reviews
May 19, 2009
Both my daughters really liked it, but maybe more the 7 year old.
65 reviews
February 19, 2011
A sweet, old fashioned fantasy. We liked it, but expected to LOVE it. It had really been hyped to us. I'm glad we read it, but was a little surprised by it...expected something more I guess.
Profile Image for David.
1 review6 followers
May 11, 2012
magical, beautifully written book in which a poor orphan girl learns to master her feelings, let go and 'let the forest think through her'. Elijah and I have read it twice in a row.
Profile Image for Tabitha.
377 reviews17 followers
September 11, 2016
3.5-- it was lovely, I was just expecting something with a bit more depth (like, say, a George MacDonald fairytale)
Profile Image for Karen.
23 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2014
I read this one aloud to my kids a few years back ... a GREAT book for us all!
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews

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