A little sister’s entreaties to come play go unheard by her bookworm big sister, so she conjures a tree fort sure to get her attention.
Neon yellow and orange, the fort glows with awesomeness. Amenities include a retractable rope ladder, a water-balloon launcher, a skylight, signal flags, a handy pulley system, a crow's nest for stakeouts, and storage for marshmallows and chocolate. These killer trappings appear atop the girls’ muted woodsy reality, along with vibrant monsters and pirates and mermaids and whales (in brilliant pinks, oranges, yellows, and purples). Lingering on their fur, spots, faces, motives, and movements, readers follow the little sister’s imaginary wanderings. Her everyday voice (an offhanded use of the word "cool" and her bluster reverberate as real) makes her sibling exasperation simmer with authenticity. “FINE! I can play by myself. It will be great. It will be even better than if we played together. I know just where to go. I HAVE A SECRET TREE FORT, AND YOU’RE NOT INVITED!” Little sister’s squinted eyes, her hands on haughty hips, and smug, serene smile seethe. Big sister just raises an eyebrow. (Both girls are white.)
Like a beloved box rattling with tiny, precious, ferreted things, this delightful picture book holds small, wonderfully specific insights into childhood imaginings, feelings, and frustrations. (Picture book. 3-8)