Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Secret Tree Fort

Do you ever judge a book by its cover? I know I do -- literally! And that's what happened with the book I'm featuring today:

Secret Tree Fort, written and illustrated by Brianne Farley (Candlewick, 2016).

The cover and the compelling title of this one jumped out at me -- the green, the curious images in the tree, a bookish girl reading, and a secret -- first hearing it mentioned through posts and discussions, and finally beckoning from the library shelf.

But when I finally cracked the spine and read this with my kiddos -- it was truly magical. This book captures the allure of a tree house -- that enticing place that so many of us dreamt of or imagined -- or had, if we were lucky enough -- and takes it up a notch. Because this is no ordinary tree house.

In the book, two sisters are sent outside by their mother. The older sister brings her book and plunks down at the base of a tree to read (this would have totally been me!). The little sister wants to know what she's doing, and in an attempt to get her sister's attention and interaction, tells her that she has a secret tree fort.

But she does give her sister more clues, and we are along for the ride. This tree house can launch water balloons at attackers, has flags to communicate different messages, has a crow's nest to spy for pirates, and even has an underwater viewing area. Like I said: MAGICAL!

Will Littler Sister be able to get Big Sister's attention? You'll have to read it to find out!

Farley's illustrations are colorful and whimsical and inviting. The creatures and objects that become part of the tree house's story make you remember those childhood longings for adventure and that special hideout. Add to that Farley's ability to express the relatable emotions through the expressions of the main characters, and this book is so very delightful.

I hope you enjoy it!

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