The Ultimate Tree House Project!

Read the preview chapters of The Ultimate Tree House Project.

Back to the Book Summary | Contents | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4


Chapter 4: Ready, Set, Build!

The next day, the four boys spent all of recess and lunch time on the far side of the playground, talking about the tree house. Each boy had a different idea of what they should have in it, and what they should build first.

“The comic room!” cried Ben.

“We need a trapdoor first!” insisted James.

“We need a watch tower so we can watch out for anyone coming!” declared Tom.

Tim opened his mouth to speak. “I think…”

“What are you boys yelling about?” inquired Susan. Amanda, Becky and Alice had also come up quietly behind the four boys while they were in the middle of their argument.

The four boys fell silent.

“Aw, c’mon, it must be important.” teased Becky.

“I’ll bet it’s about their secret” smirked Amanda.

“Tell us!” said Susan.

Alice stood quietly behind her friends, looking at James.

“None of your business!” said James.

“Boy stuff!” muttered Ben.

“Not for girls!” echoed Tim and Tom together.

“Humph!” grunted Susan.

“We’ll see about that!” declared Becky.

“We’ll find out your secret, you know!” Amanda laughed as the four girls walked back to the middle of the playground.

“Girls!” muttered Ben.

“Yeah…” said Tim.

“…Girls.” Said Tom.

James just watched the girls as they walked away. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw Alice give him a little smile before she turned away.

What did that mean?

----

After school, each of the boys ran home to get their tools and met up at Ben’s house.

“I remembered the hammer!” said James.

“I brought a saw!” said Tom.

“I brought some paper and a pencil!” said Tim.

The other boys turned to look at him. “What for?” said Ben.

Tim shuffled uncertainly. “…um, to draw some plans?”

“We don’t need them!” declared Ben.

“Boys build!” declared James.

“Men of action!” crowed Tom.

Tim crumpled up the paper in his pocket.

The boys went to the wood piles to pick up a few more boards to take to the tree.

“Just the railing boards this time.” said Ben.

Tom balanced the saw on top of his board so he could get a good grip. James tucked the hammer inside his jacket before lifting his board.

“Let’s go!” said Ben, and the boys each picked up an end of their boards and began walking to the tree.

----

When the boys dropped their boards under the tree, Ben declared they were ready to start building. “First things first! We need to get someone up into the tree, so the rest of us can pass the boards up.”

Tim and Tom exchanged glances. “We can’t reach the branches.” said Tom.

“Let’s try climbing the trunk then!” said Ben. “James, you go try it.”

James walked over to the large trunk and tried to find a handhold. The trunk was smooth and a bit slippery, from the ground all the way up past James’ head. There were no knots or boles for him to get a hand or foot into or onto. He jumped up, trying to grab the bark higher up. His hands slipped off.

“I can’t do it!” cried James. “It’s too slippery!”

“We should have planned this better…” Tim whispered quietly to himself.

“What’s that?” asked Ben, giving Tim a sharp look.

“Nothing,” said Tim, “I was just thinking, if we can’t climb and can’t jump, we will have to wait until we grow taller to get up there.”

“Brilliant idea!” said Ben. “Tim, Tom, one of you get on the other’s shoulders. You should be able to reach then.”

Tim bent down and Tom climbed up onto his shoulders. Tim tried to stand up. “You’re heavy! Stop wiggling!”

Tom tried to hold still as Tim struggled to his feet.

“I think I can reach it!” said Tom. “Move closer to that branch over there.”

Tim walked closer to the branch, Tom balancing on his shoulders. The branch was now at chest height for Tom. Tom grabbed onto the branch with both hands and heaved himself onto the branch. Tim was relieved that the weight was gone from his shoulders. He wiggled them round and round to loosen his muscles.

“Pass me up a board!” said Tom.

Ben and James grabbed a fence slat and slid it up over the edge of the branch. Tom grabbed the edge of it and slid it up the rest of the way. He pushed the far edge of it up over the next branch, so that both ends of the board were sticking out over the two branches.

Success! Their tree house had now begun to take shape.

“Another one!” said Tom. Ben and James grabbed another board and passed it up to Tom, then another and another. Soon Tom had four fence panels straddling the two branches, and crawled over onto the new platform.

Tom stood up. “I’m the king of the world!” he shouted.

Ben and James were jumping excitedly. “My turn! My turn!” they shouted together.

Tom lay down across the boards and held his arms down. Ben grabbed onto Tom’s hands but Tom was not strong enough to pull Ben up by himself.

“Tim! Get down on the ground so I can get onto your shoulders.” commanded Ben.

Tim shook his head. His shoulders were still sore.

“Okay then, James, you get down and I’ll get on your shoulders.”

James did not look happy, but stooped down low so Ben could get up on his shoulders. He stood up with difficulty and walked over to the branch. Ben pulled himself up while Tom steadied him. As Ben settled onto the improvised platform, the boards shifted.

“We need to nail these down so they don’t move.” said Ben. “James, pass me up some nails and the hammer.”

“But it’s my hammer!” protested James.

“But I’m up in the tree. It won’t be safe for you to climb up here too until we put some nails in these boards to stop them from moving.” said Ben.

Reluctantly, James passed up the hammer, and then the bag of nails into the waiting hands of Ben and Tom.

Tim just watched, rubbing his shoulders.

After a lot of banging and one bruised thumb, Ben declared the boards were safe. “They aren’t going to move. Not even a tornado would move these boards!”

“C’mon, Tom, get with me on this side of the platform and we can pull up James and Tim one at a time,” commanded Ben.

Tom and Ben both lay down on the platform and reached down with one arm. Each grabbed one of James’ arms and together they heaved him up onto the platform, scraping his stomach in the process.

“You next!” said Ben to Tim.

Tim stretched up both of his arms and Tom and James pulled him up onto the platform.

Proudly, the four stood on the platform and smiled at each other.

“Cahooooooooo!” crowed Tom.

“Yaheeeeee!” cried James.

“King of the wooooooorld!” yelled Ben.

“I think I heard a board cracking.” said Tim, with a worried look on his face.

“Ok, now we need to make it easier to get up for next time.” said Ben. “Who brought the rope up?”

Tim and Tom looked at each other and then down at the base of the tree. The tangle of rope was still on the ground.

“Dang it!” said Ben. “Why didn’t you bring it up with you?”

“You didn’t tell me to.” Said Tim.

“I got up here first, not my fault!” said Tom.

“Not my rope!” said James.

Together they stood and looked down at the rope.

“You know what we need?” said Ben.

“…better planning?” said Tim.

Ben glared at him and turned away. “We need a leader. And I’m it!”

Tom and James looked at each other and shrugged. Tim rolled his eyes. What a surprise – not!

In the distance they heard Ben’s mother calling him in for dinner.

“Cripes! It’s late!” said James.

“See you all tomorrow!” yelled Ben, as he jumped down out of the tree and ran towards home, not waiting for his friends.

James hung his feet over the edge and dropped to the ground. The landing made his feet sting. He helped Tom and Tim jump down to the ground by steadying them as they landed. The three friends walked out of the darkening forest together and then ran to the edge of the park. They walked across the street just as the first street light turned on. The walked together in silence until Tim & Tom turned right down the street that led to their house.

“See you tomorrow!” yelled James as they walked away.

“See you…” said Tim.

“…Tomorrow!” said Tom.

Contents | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 <<

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