A boy’s grandfather teaches him how to build a clubhouse out of leaves in this picture book from debut author Fleming and illustrator Gerdes.
Six-year-old Iranian-American Adrian decides that, rather than vacation in Paris with his parents (where “he had been…a HUNDRED times”), he’d like to visit his grandparents in Wisconsin. Grammy and Grandpa live on farmland surrounded by woods, and at first, Adrian is enchanted by the animals he sees, and he and Grammy play outside together. When Adrian gets bored and homesick, Grandpa teaches him to make a house out of leaves. Adrian rakes, picturing the magical clubhouse that he’s building, and he starts making big plans for it. Although a thick snow nearly ruins his dream, Adrian realizes that imagination is the key, and he builds a snow clubhouse that’s even better than the leafy one. Beautifully shaded, highly realistic colored-pencil illustrations bring Adrian to life, though each clubhouse is marred by an unnecessary “No Girls!” sign. The prose is accessible, with simple sentences, but its placement feels uneven; for example, the first page is intimidatingly full of text, while other spreads have only a single line. Still, Adrian’s imaginative adventure will likely draw young readers in.
A celebration of imagination with vivid drawings and a creative protagonist.