When Russell’s family moves to a new house, he has a great idea for the backyard: build an amazing fort in the giant maple tree.

Russell’s dad doesn’t know much about building, but he gamely gives it his best as he attempts to follow Russell’s elaborate plan. Several trips to the lumber store later, the tree fort is finally done. There is no slide, balcony or skylight like Russell imagined, but it is perfect — right up until he notices another tree fort being built three houses over.

He stood at the bottom of the better tree fort. It was so large, it blocked the sun.

When Russell visits the fort down the street with all the bells and whistles he imagined, Russell starts to wonder whether happiness comes from the fanciest fort or somewhere else.

The Better Tree Fort can now be purchased from Groundwood Books as well as from booksellers everywhere. It has also been translated and published in French, Russian, Swedish and Turkish.

Field notes

Jessica was interviewed about the inspiration for this picture book. Qin Leng, the illustrator, was interviewed about her artwork. Jessica also wrote about her inspiration for her publisher’s blog.

  • Cover used by permission of Groundwood Books. Text copyright © 2018 Jessica Scott Kerrin; jacket art and illustrations copyright © 2018 Qin Leng