Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 7
- Grade: p to 2
- Reading age: 4 to 7
“Together, artist and author affectingly construct The Better Tree Fort that has little to do with its exterior, and everything to do with the love contained within.” — Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW
“Let’s build a tree fort,” Russell says to his dad when they move into a house with a big maple tree in the backyard. His dad doesn’t know much about building, but he gamely follows Russell’s plan. Several trips to the lumber store later, the tree fort is done. There is no slide, balcony or skylight like Russell imagined, but it is perfect — right up until he notices another tree fort going up three houses over.
When Russell goes over to investigate, he meets Warren, whose bigger tree fort has castle turrets and working lights. Russell is in awe until it dawns on him that it’s not worth worrying about who has the better tree fort when he has a loving dad there to build one with him.
In this subtle, humorous story, Jessica Scott Kerrin explores the idea of keeping up with the Joneses — and what that means when you’re a kid with a tree fort. Qin Leng’s lighthearted watercolor illustrations show the unshakeable bond between a father and son, as well as the delightful details of two tree forts.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
About the authors
Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of The Things Owen Wrote, The Spotted Dog Last Seen (finalist for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award and the John Spray Mystery Award) and The Missing Dog Is Spotted. She is also the author of the picture book, The Better Tree Fort (illustrated by Qin Leng), and is known for the Lobster Chronicles series and the bestselling Martin Bridge series. Her novels have been translated into French, Turkish, Russian and Slovenian.
Born and raised in Alberta, Jessica now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China. At the age of five, she moved with her family to Bordeaux, France, where she spent the next four years. Soon after, she moved to Montreal, where she spent the rest of her childhood. Having been born in Asia but raised in the West, she uses both cultures as her source of inspiration. Looking at her illustrations, one can see the presence of both East and West.Qin Leng comes from a family of artists, where the visual senses have always been of the utmost importance. She grew up watching her father work with acrylics, pastel, and ink. Father and daughter often spent their days drawing side by side. Drawing first started as a hobby, but soon became a way of expression.Despite her many years of study to become a biologist, Qin decided at the age of 20 to follow the same path as her father and enrolled in the School of Cinema to study Film Animation at Concordia University. She has produced animated shorts, which were nominated in various nationa
[A] delightful story about the genuine love between a father and son.
Canadian Children's Book News
[A] subtle, humorous picture book story in which author Jessica Scott Kerrin deftly explore the idea of 'keeping up with the Joneses' — and what that means when you're a kid with a tree fort. Of special note is how illustrator Qin Leng's lighthearted watercolor illustrations show the unshakeable bond between a father and son . . .
Midwest Book Review
Its message of what matters most—including love and spending time together—is one many readers will welcome.
Kerrin's story of father-son love is endearing and warm-spirited.
Together, artist and author affectingly construct The Better Tree Fort that has little to do with its exterior, and everything to do with the love contained within.
Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW
It's clear that the time Russell and his father spent together is their fort's greatest feature. Leng captures their loving relationship in a warm palette of watercolors and inks . . . Kerrin includes subtle moments of humor throughout the story line . . .