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Secret Tree Fort by Brianne Farley


Brianne Farley's debut picture book, Ike's Incredible Ink, is an incredible story about creativity. And, while Farley's fantastic second book, The Secret Tree Fort, is also about creativity and imagination, it has such a different feel and style that it almost made me do a double take. As someone who reads hundreds of picture books every year and follows the careers of new author/illustrators, it is surprising and exciting to see a new book that doesn't look remarkably similar to the previous one. Farley's illustration style still has a collage-y, textured feel, but the presence of humans in this book and a richer color palette, especially the vibrant imagined creatures, feels new and intriguing. 


Based on the title alone, I knew that The Secret Tree Fort was a book I wanted to read. A story about a secret tree fort can go in a hundred different directions, but the story Farley chooses to tell is one that will resonate with readers and linger in memories long after the covers are closed. Two sisters are sent outside to play. Big sister parks herself under a tree to read a book. She also ignores her little sister's pleas to play. Completely frustrated, the little sister blurts out, "FINE! I HAVE A SECRET TREE FORT AND YOU'RE NOT INVITED!"



And then she begins to build this secret tree fort - in her imagination - telling her sister about all the amazing details as she builds. The fort is well stocked - there is a marshmallow and chocolate compartment, maps and walkie talkies. And  it is also protected against attacks. There are different signal flags to call for backup. There's a crow's nest that affords an ocean view and a secret tunnel with an underwater viewing area where you can hang out with whales and play board games together. Best of all, the whole secret fort is made of candy. . .




Does this secret fort woo big sister away from her book or start an epic "Yes, it is," "No, it isn't" fight between the siblings? Or maybe both? You'll just have to read The Secret Tree Fort yourself to find out. Even better, buy it for a child you know and love!


Source: Review Copy

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