Our Fort

New York Review of Books. May 2022. 48p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781681376585.
Gr 2-4–“The adventure will begin the minute we step through the gate.” Readers join three friends on a journey through nature to their secret fort. They trudge past the neighbor’s barking dog and the sheep in the meadow, on a journey they have made before and clearly relish. That is, until the storm hits. Will the friends be able to stick together in the tumultuous weather that threatens to blow them away? Against a story of friendship, trust, and perseverance, the art uses soft colors and line work that recalls, in some scenes, the landscapes of Japanese art. A compelling use of light and dark builds suspense to the terrific climax of the storm. The fair-skinned characters with straight black hair have clothing that is old-fashioned and without reference to any specific culture. The setting is anywhere and everywhere. The storm could be their imaginations, or real. Their fort, and their “play,” with dandelion flowers for tea, seems like that of far younger children, but the vocabulary, and emotional heft, skews older.
VERDICT A compelling, but still optional purchase for where picture books, especially related to friendship and adventure, are regularly circulated.

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