Pickle and I connected with this book instantly, and I’m not kidding when I say I fell in love with it in about .2 seconds flat. In Secret Tree Fort, Brianne Farley so perfectly encapsulates the sibling relationship. As a little sister myself, this wildly imaginative story makes me giggle on every read through, as Farley nails the way a younger sibling will stop at nothing to grab the attention of her worshiped older brother or sister.
In Secret Tree Fort, a mom sends her two daughters outside to play. Though the eldest wants nothing more than to sit under a tree and read a book, the younger of the two wants nothing more than for her older sister to play with her. And so begins the little one’s wild descriptions of a secret tree fort that the older is not invited to, complete with a water balloon launcher, trapdoor, secret tunnel, and walls made of – wait for it- candy! She will stop at nothing to grab her sister’s attention, and eventually, her sister decides to come around after all- but not for the reasons you may think.
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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First- the illustrations are fantastic, with the younger sister’s wild imagination depicted in a brighter and more vibrant color palette, making it easy to see where reality ends and her imagination begins. Second, talk about reverse psychology! This is a hilarious look at the ingenuity of a little girl who believes if she makes her secret fort as fantastical as possible, but then promptly tells her sister that everything else about this magical hideaway is a secret, she may just be able to rope her sister into her imaginative world.
Third, the sibling relationship is so spot on, any family with at least two kids will relate. I love the way Farley depicts the younger girl’s efforts to engage her older sister in play, but even better is the way the older sister finally, after some prodding, decides to bend and help her sister make her secret fort a reality. It’s a touching and emotionally resonant ending, and it’s one of my favorite new picture books of 2016. A must have for any family with more than one child in the house.
Want the book? Get it here! Secret Tree Fort, by Brianne Farley. *This is an affiliate link.