Jumping Penguins and Laughing Hyenas

Jumping Penguins and Laughing Hyenas

by Marije Tolman

If a camel gets angry, he will throw up green gastric juice over you.
A sloth moves so slowly that green algae grows in his fur.
Even a blind chameleon takes the color of its surroundings.

Bologna Ragazzi Award winner Marije Tolman, creator of The Tree House and The Island, illustrates in her distinctive style curious, funny, bizarre, unbelievable,


If a camel gets angry, he will throw up green gastric juice over you.
A sloth moves so slowly that green algae grows in his fur.
Even a blind chameleon takes the color of its surroundings.

Bologna Ragazzi Award winner Marije Tolman, creator of The Tree House and The Island, illustrates in her distinctive style curious, funny, bizarre, unbelievable, disgusting and weird facts about fifty different animals. The animal facts are straightforward nonfiction, Marije Tolman's illustrations are pure fantasy, creating a combination that is sure to engage readers.

After reading and watching Jumping penguins and laughing hyenas a visit to the zoo will never be the same.

A flamingo can only eat with its head upside down.
A penguin is able to jump six feet high.
If you wanted to see as sharply as an owl, you would need eyes as big as grapefruits.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Goossens and Tolman introduce an animal menagerie through gracefully whimsical paintings and offhand descriptions of each distinctive species. On one spread, pandas are seen riding on bicycles and sleeping in the middle of the road in heaps (“A giant panda has no permanent resting place. It just lies on the ground whenever it gets tired”). The art and descriptions don’t shy from the pricklier side of animal behavior: crocodiles devour one of their own in a scene that’s either very bloody or very ketchupy. In a softer image, a tiger swims alongside seahorses and a tiny cat in a pink submarine: “Most cats do not like water, but tigers love it. The Sumatran tiger has webbed toes and can swim more than fifteen miles.” Dreamy graphics and quirky content add up to an idiosyncratic look at the animal world. Ages 5–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Reviews for The Tree House:
""Imbued with quiet effervescence, this wordless picture book imagines a child-sized paradise in which dreamy scenes unfold one after another ... Readers of all ages will want to return to this treasure box of images again and again""
- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

""a wordless picture book, breathtaking in its beauty, scope, and originality. ... Fellow illustration junkies, come to me now, and let me tell you that this book is a wonder. Gorgeous is what it is. The colors, the lines, the wide open spaces, the space the Tolmans give this book to breathe, the compositions...I could go on. There is also much humor and affection in this wordless story. It's one of the most beautiful, winning picture books I've seen in a long while. Each spread is a wonder. I never tire of this one.""
-7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
In the genre of animal books, it would be tough to find a more informative yet amusing compilation of little known facts from the animal kingdom than this. The illustrations are artwork quality. All pictures overflow single page spreads, leaving just a wide border for brief but fact-packed captions about the subjects of the artwork. The illustrations are adorably ironic. A queue of marabous line up with spoons and forks next to a roaring bonfire while the information tells the reader that the birds are scavengers who wait for animals fleeing from wildfires so that they can pounce on them as prey. A giraffe that has no vocal cords attempts sing karaoke. An Eric Carle-style caterpillar is shown flinging his feces to carry his scent away from predators. The reader must really study the pictures in order to understand the inside jokes. The fact that a wolf eats voraciously is underlined by a Sendak-like child in a wolf suit stationed in front of a groaning board of hamburgers. Sharks and dinosaurs, which appeared on the earth at the same time, are shown on the same page but, for some reason, are seen stalking cute stuffed bunnies and teddy bears. While this book is exceptional in artistic interpretation and will have great appeal to kids who love “gross out” and strange fact animal books, the whole does not exactly blend together. The cover is executed as a picture book with a literal stack of wild animals. However, the information imparted may, in fact, be too graphic for a picture book audience or for the picture book audience’s parents. Illustrator Tolman chose to forgo a title and author/ illustrator credit on the cover but perhaps a “warning” label might have been appropriate. Backmatter includes an index, but no liner notes are included for cataloging guidance. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 5 to 10.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—This oversize volume is as much an art book as it is a book of animal facts. Tolman's visually interesting paintings are both sophisticated and child-friendly; the fanciful images leave such a strong impression that they demand conversation. The text-really expanded captions-presents charmingly quirky bits of information about each of the 27 animals. Youngsters learn that giraffes have no vocal cords and hippos' eyes, nose, and mouth are on the top of their heads. Some of the weirder facts are thrown out with something like nonchalance: Yes, marabous do have the tendency to eat animals fleeing from forest fires, no big deal. A sloth moves so slowly that green algae grows in its hair. This tone treats young animal lovers with respect, allowing them to decide for themselves how to feel about animal behavior. The index feels superfluous because no one would use the book for research. There are no source notes or bibliographies, so readers just have to take the creators at their word when they state, "A polar bear is left-handed, as are most artists."—Trina Bolfing, Westbank Libraries, Austin, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Whimsy rules this pairing of unusual animal facts and droll illustrations. Goossens blends more or less common knowledge about 25 creatures, such as the fact that panthers are a kind of leopard or that sharks have to keep moving even when they sleep, with assertions that may set even well-read young naturalists back. Polar bears are left-handed ("...as are most artists"); both bison and penguins can jump six feet or more into the air; a drop of alcohol on a scorpion's back will cause it to "go completely berserk and sting itself to death." Interpreting this information with tongue-in-cheek literal-mindedness, Tolman supplies spacious painted scenes that dominate each spread. Small daubed images of bison meet for a long-jump competition; an expired scorpion lies next to a spilled glass of wine; drowsy sharks drift with plush toys tucked under their fins; in more gruesome turns, crocodiles and lions chow down bloodily (or is that ketchup?). Outré as the author's unsourced claims might be, readers may be inclined to go with the flow just because they are presented in such a lighthearted way. And who knows? Perhaps most of them are true, or at least truthy. A distinct change of pace from the general run of animal galleries, if better suited for chortling over than mining for school reports. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Lemniscaat USA
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

MARIJE TOLMAN (1976) graduated in Graphic and Typographic Design at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. She studied Illustration and design at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Now she lives and works in The Hague as a full-time children's book illustrator.
The daughter of an artist, Marije has an inbred eye for colour, for beauty, for subtlety. She knows how to paint the delicate detail without losing the overall perspective. With her father, Ronald Tolman, she made the award winning picture books The Tree House and The Island.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >