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Review of The Little Red Fort

The Little Red Fort
by Brenda Maier; 
illus. by Sonia Sánchez
Primary    Scholastic    40 pp.    g
3/18    978-0-545-85919-6    $17.99

Young Ruby (whose “mind was always full of ideas”) decides to build a fort in her yard. She asks her brothers for help, but in true “Little Red Hen” fashion, no one agrees: “Oscar Lee pretended not to hear her. Rodrigo gave her a look that could melt Popsicles. José almost fell off the fence. ‘You don’t know how to build anything,’ they said. Ruby shrugged. ‘Then I’ll learn.’” And she does, step by step: Ruby draws the plans, gathers the supplies, cuts the boards and nails them — supported by goateed Dad, laid-back Mom, and hammer-wielding Grandma. When the fort is complete, she enjoys solitary playtime, to the consternation of her brothers. The boys, envious and somewhat grudgingly in awe, finally get a clue, and their unsolicited yet welcome contributions lead to cooperation — and cookies. Maier’s girl-power-meets-classic-folktale story line is engaging and entertaining. Sánchez’s colorfully patterned and textured illustrations give dimension to a determined and endearing pigtailed heroine and her realistic multigenerational, multi-skin-toned family.

From the March/April 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.

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