ANDREW HENRY’S MEADOW/FORTS

 andrewhenry'smeadow

During a panel at the L.A. Times Festival of Books this year, the writer of one of my favorite books, Linda Urban, mentioned a picture book called Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn. I quickly got my hands on it.

 

(Disclaimer: first published in 1965, the gender stereotypes are quite dated, but the story transcends.)

 

Andrew Henry is a middle child whose talent for building isn’t appreciated by his family. So Andrew Henry departs through the woods to the meadow and makes camp on his own. In fact, he builds a really elaborate fort. A bona fide house.

 

“…The walls were made of clay and rocks and poles. The roof was made of fir boughs, and outside one window there was a fine landing field for dragonflies.”

andrewhenry'smeadow

 

Other kids start showing up at the meadow. They’ve exiled themselves too because they feel  undervalued in their own homes.  So Andrew Henry builds them houses. Or more specifically, a tree/birdhouse, a boathouse, a dugout, a teepee, a castle. Each child gets the kind of place suited to their particular passion.

 

tumblr_ml58ofk42w1qzdglao1_1280

The recent film The Kings of Summer is like an expanded, teenage version of Andrew Henry and his Meadow. The main character, feeling undervalued at home and needing to work some stuff out, convinces two other guys to hike through a patch of forest nearby to a clearing to  build their own house. Which they do. (My favorite bit is the blue porta potty door.)

la-lh-kings-of-summer-movie-set-20130530-004

 

I was quite a fort builder myself as a kid, using what was available in my room: pillows, sheets, blankets, and stuffed animals to tell stories to.

So in the spirit of a classic book, a new film, and sumsumsummertime, I give you FORTS. From the simple to the sublime:

You could make your own Super Hero Fort Kit a la Meg + Andy. If you’ve already got the tent for the yard, include all the fixings any superhero spending the night out there might need for her/his adventures.

 

superherofortkit

 

This one that the owner of  Zilverblauw.nl crafted is  jaw-droppingly exuberant inspiration.

 

hut_nieuwvlietbad

 

The Teepee Guy on etsy has a bunch to to buy, but I like this one you can decorate yourself.

 

theteepeeguy

 

This is more like a backyard getaway  idea for a staycation or dinner party, but it’s just so beautiful and whimsical and fort-like.

 

dayofthedead-inspired-04

 

(image: via Green Wedding Shoes, photo by Marianne Wilson Photography, Styling by Samantha of Primary Petals & Kathy of The Vintage Table Co.)

 

And then there’s always a castle made from hazel branches, fit for any prince or princess.

 

463ede5489c8d265f20cddf7fb25e328

 

Finally, here is perhaps the simplest. Angela Conley’s Air Fort from mom trusted. It’s amazing and all you need is stuff you already have: a bedsheet, packing tape, and a little fan. Genius, right?

air-fort-Collage-text-logo-e1360881555445

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 6.26.47 PM

Or leave a fort memory or idea in the comments!

 

For one more picture book about a magical place children create for themselves, check out the exquisitely wonderful Roxaboxen.

 

roxaboxen

2 Responses to ANDREW HENRY’S MEADOW/FORTS

  1. Pingback: 10 books to celebrate summer! - This Picture Book Life

  2. Pingback: favorite picture books from the 60s - This Picture Book Life

Talk to me!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.