Crabtree by Jon & Tucker Nichols

Crabtree by Jon & Tucker Nichols
Crabtree by Jon & Tucker Nichols

today’s children storybook summary is


By Jon & Tucker Nichols

The takeaway

Everybody needs to put a little order in their homes; even adults need help to get organized. Because when you have a lot of stuff, you risk losing your most important things. Take Alfred Crabtree for example…. He lost his smile… well, it wasn’t an actual smile but very similar. 


One morning, Alfred Crabtree took on a very laborious project. It all started because he couldn’t find his fake teeth that had gone missing overnight. We suspect he must have misplaced them. We do not know why he needed false teeth or if he had any real ones. But what we know is that he put a great effort into finding them. We also know that he had to go through all his staff (and he had a lot of stuff) and still didn’t find them. And only after he got organized was he able to locate his false teeth: they were right where they were supposed to be.

It was a dreadful morning for Alfred Crabtree because he couldn’t find his teeth. He searched his belongings which were messy and crowded and…too many of them. He got so confused that he didn’t know what to do about it. He needed help, so he called his sister Myrna. She said he must put everything he had into categories.

Alfred started with the hats and helmets and he put them all together, then went on to family portraits, tools and utensils, foods, ducks and decoys, socks and mittens. Then he put all his ants in an ant farm where he made roads and even parking spots, and give them peas.

And all was good, until Alfred realized he could barely move around the house: his stuff was everywhere. He needed more help, so he called his sister Irma. She said to put the things in boxes. So, he did. All the yellow things went in one box, then all the yelping dogs, the things that start with an S, all the shells (even the cracked egg shells), and all the broken things he had, or the ones he didn’t know what they were.

Now he had a humongous pile of boxes all properly labeled: hair, wigs, parking tickets, parking meters, cold cereal, very fragile, things that bite, portraits, scuba gear, and so on. He had enough space to keep searching and yet he couldn’t find his missing teeth.

He needed more help, so Alfred called his sister Velma. She asked him if he looked in the teeth closet. That was a revelation. How could he have forgotten the teeth closet? Maybe because there was too much stuff around to distract him? Anyway, he opened the teeth closet, and, among other types of teeth and teeth related things, there they were, his false teeth he had been searching for all day.

Alfred put on a big smile (of course, after he put on his teeth) and decided to take a break. Oh, but a break wasn’t enough. He wanted a vacation. So, he decided to go on a cruise on a ship aboard which he brought only the most important things. Which was everything he had packed on that brown boxes.


Alfred Crabtree, an adult man with a belly and a beginning baldness, who wears bunny slippers; Myrna, Alfred’s sister, a curly haired grow-up woman, Irma, another Alfred’s sister, a short blond-haired woman, and Velma, the sister that told Alfred to look in the teeth closet, a smaller person wearing a red hat.


The Illustration is also credited to the two authors, Jon and Tucker Nichols. The concept is simple, yet appealing: show Alfred and all the thing he owns being categorized and organized. Draw all this in a funny way, by labeling various things with surprising, hilarious, startling tags.

The drawings are ordinary but in the context of the book they appear elaborated. There is also a richness of idea with every page that cannot come from the text itself, but only from visually illustrating the situation that the character is at a certain moment.

Overall, it is an enriching, funny and full of wisdom book.

Things to learn

A crabtree is a tree bearing crab apples

Recommended Age

As young as 3 and as old as 53

Reading Time

5 to 10 minutes


No awards given. But it should have won one for ingenuity and richness of details.

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