The Better Tree Fort
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Qin Leng
“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.
Jessica Scott Kerrin
Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of the middle-grade novels The Things Owen Wrote, The Spotted Dog Last Seen and The Missing Dog Is Spotted. She is also known for the Lobster Chronicles series and the best-selling Martin Bridge series. Born and raised in Alberta, she now lives in downtown Halifax, Canada, or on her boat, Cape Fear, during the summer months. The Better Tree Fort is her first picture book.
Qin Leng lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the APALA Award for best picture book. Her most recent books include Away, written by Emil Sher, and A Family Is a Family Is a Family, written by Sara O’Leary, which was selected for USBBY’s Outstanding International Books List.
Praise for Away by Emil Sher, illustrated by Qin Leng:
“With intricate images to pore over, this enchanting and original title is ideal for one-on-one sharing and the perfect antidote for children dreading their first overnight trip. Superb.” School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
"With an entertainingly offbeat storytelling format and fantastic artwork full of eye-catching details … this endearing picture book with an empowering message of bravery will surely resonate with little ones nervous about their own burgeoning independence." Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
“Leng’s breathy illustrations exude the easy energy of the characters while bringing their deceptively simple notes to full emotional life … Untrammeled and honest.” Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
Praise for The Spotted Dog Last Seen by Jessica Scott Kerrin:
“Going far beyond mystery book conventions, Spotted Dog is also a well-told story of growth and self-forgiveness.” School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
"Kerrin's story of father-son love is endearing and warm-spirited." Kirkus