Meet An Author

Treehouse is committed to continuing to support families learning at home. We’ve asked authors and illustrators of fabulous children’s books to help us. This week we are highlighting one of our favorite authors, April Jones Prince. April came to visit Treehouse, along with wonderful illustrator Joan Paley, when their book, “Meet Our Flag, Old Glory” was published in 2004. Since then April has written more than a dozen books for children and young readers. April says she wanted to be a writer from the time she was little and visited her father’s office in a publishing firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In third grade her class made a book about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and April said she wanted to be a children’s book author.

One of our very favorites of April’s books is “Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates.” It’s a pirate version of – you guessed it – Goldilocks. It’s a “fractured fairy tale.” In April’s story the pirates could use some help with their cooking, mending, and “seamanship,” and Goldenlocks is just right girl for the job. April’s book is full of “similes,” where a writer compares two things using the words “like” or “as.” For example: “This gruel is as hot as cannon fire!”

April invites children to try their hand at writing a fractured fairy tale of their own, and has provided some PDFs for you to read to get you inspired! You can also find many more fun activities on April’s website.

Don't forget all the fun videos and songs on Treehouse’s Youtube channel. If you missed our features on Treehouse friends like puppeteer Randel McGee, illustrator/author Giles Laroche, and Treehouse Programs Coordinator Wes Whitby, you can click here to go to the blog section of the Treehouse website.

Take a Treehouse Challenge

We have a third Treehouse Children's Challenge for you this week! If you are between the ages of 7 and 14, your challenge is to write your own Fractured Fairy Tale! Pick a favorite fairy tale and retell it your way. April points out on her website that to “fracture” something means to break it and then changing it so it’s similar to the original fairy tale, but different. She’s even made a worksheet to get you going!

Download April's Fractured Fairy Tale Organizer

When you’ve written your own version of a fairy tale, then send it to Treehouse. We’ll send the finalists on to April who will read them and help choose the winners who will receive copies of some of April’s books and other great Treehouse prizes. The deadline for this challenge is Friday, May 16. Just email us your story, plus your name, age, and phone number to Please include the title of your fractured fairy tale.

Don’t forget to be working on our two other Treehouse Tales Children’s Challenges. We’ve already seen some amazing dragons and lost cities, so keep the entries coming, there's still plenty of time to enter your creations!

Giles Laroche provided the theme to our second Treehouse Children’s Challenge, where we invite children, ages 4 to 14, to create your own “Lost City” collage. Families can work together on this Challenge, too. You could create an under the ocean city, a city covered by jungle, or anything you can imagine. When your city collage is complete, take a picture, and email it to us along with the participating child’s name, age, and mailing address. Treehouse will share the entries with Giles and we’ll select three to receive special prizes. The deadline for entering your collage photos is Friday, May 8, 2020.
And remember to work on your first Treehouse Children’s Challenge entry of a dragon or fairy tale puppet to be judged by author, illustrator, storyteller, and puppeteer Randel McGee. As a reminder, children ages 4 to 12, are invited to create their own dragon or fairy tale character puppet out of materials you find around the house and can, with parent permission, recycle and use to make your own storytelling puppet. When completed, children should send a photo of it to Treehouse with their name, age, and mailing address by May 1, 2020. We’ll send the top ten entries to Randel and Groark, who will select the top winner. That winner will receive a set of Randel’s craft books, some great Treehouse items, and a $25 prize check.

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