Do-it-yourself dads rock, especially in the backyard.
When Russell sees the enormous maple tree in his new backyard, he immediately thinks tree fort and draws up the plans for the structure and all its important attachments. His dad is a very willing accomplice to the project, although he’s not at all sure of what to do and how to do it. After a good deal of work, the tree fort is completed. It is not anywhere near what Russell had planned, but in his eyes “It’s perfect” (even without the escape slide). Father and son (both white) spend a wonderful night together in it. The next morning brings consternation to Russell when he sees a tree fort being erected in a neighbor’s backyard—a very big and very fancy endeavor. It has turrets. And electricity. And an escape slide. Russell joins the boy of color to whom it belongs for a snack and learns that his father hired a construction crew. But does it have everything a better tree fort should have? Russell goes home to be with his father, who may not be the best builder but is clearly the “better dad.” Kerrin’s story of father-son love is endearing and warm-spirited. Leng’s ink, watercolor, and pencil-crayon illustrations are softly hued, fluid, and filled with enough details to engage readers.
Time together is truly wonderful for one father and son. (Picture book. 3-6)