The Tree House

Overview

Pure picture-book magic. A polar bear rides a whale to a tree rising out of the water. At the top of the tree is a tree house. He’s joined by a brown bear in a boat. The bears find that the tree house is the perfect place to read. When the water recedes, they are joined by flamingos, panda bears, and other animals that come by land and air. The tree house is a place of wonder, where a brown bear catches snowflakes in a butterfly net.

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Overview

Pure picture-book magic. A polar bear rides a whale to a tree rising out of the water. At the top of the tree is a tree house. He’s joined by a brown bear in a boat. The bears find that the tree house is the perfect place to read. When the water recedes, they are joined by flamingos, panda bears, and other animals that come by land and air. The tree house is a place of wonder, where a brown bear catches snowflakes in a butterfly net.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Imbued with quiet effervescence, this wordless picture book imagines a child-sized paradise in which dreamy scenes unfold one after another. The Tolmans, a Dutch father-and-daughter team, draw the central tree—with a marvelous, many-storied tree house in its branches—in rich umber; it maintains the same size, shape, and position throughout, though the details in and around it vary widely. A polar bear swims up first, and a brown bear follows by boat. As the two read, an enormous flock of flamingoes appears, and the spread turns pink. Some roost in the branches, until a rhinoceros bumps the trunk, dislodging them. (The jostling is shown by reproducing the image of the tree house about a quarter inch off, creating a vibrational effect.) The rhino is welcomed, more bears appear, as do a peacock and a hippo, and soon the tree house is pleasantly crowded. It's Noah's Ark undone, with no traumatic flood, no tidy matched pairs, and no need for olive branches. Readers of all ages will want to return to this treasure box of images again and again. Ages 2-up. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

Imbued with quiet effervescence, this wordless picture book imagines a child-sized paradise in which dreamy scenes unfold one after another. . . It's Noah's Ark undone, with no traumatic flood, no tidy matched pairs, and no need for olive branches. Readers of all ages will want to return to this treasure box of images again and again." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The most captivating aspect of this book is that there are no words, which opens the door for imagination and all kinds of wonderful interaction between parents and children as they create a story together."—ForeWord
Winner of the Ragazzi Prize for Fiction at the Bologna International Children's Book Fair

An Outstanding International Book of the Year—United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)

The Bologna Ragazzi Award Jury stated the following about The Tree House:

The Tree House is a wise, clear, even poetic, example of how an established topos of the collective imagination may be revisited with a fresh eye to reveal a continued relevance to modern times. Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman return to the "house in the trees". Their house, however, is rich with subtle cultural references ranging from symbolist painting to the most refined 20th century graphic art.

The book's message is not declaimed, but is conveyed quietly. It pleads for an enlightened ecological stance in which an intense awareness that we are part of nature does not forego our need for elegance and intellectual enquiry.

"Children will gaze in wonder at this tree house and understand the rhino's longing (and obvious impatience) to be up in its branches. This oversize picture book celebrates acceptance of others and the splendor of nature." —School Library Journal"Children will appreciate this large-scale wordless book's whimsicality and its commanding art, especially the tree house's out-of-focus look as it's battered by a rhino." —The Horn Book

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A polar bear rides a whale across the jacket. As the wordless story begins, he is swimming toward a tree house emerging from the water. On the next double page, he watches from the house as a brown bear arrives in a boat. As they read books in the house, the waters recede and a large flock of flamingos descends. A rhinoceros shakes the tree, but then climbs up, to be joined by ever more colorful creatures. Then, as the background color changes from yellow and orange back to the flamingo pink, the other characters leave the two bears. Clouds gather, snow begins to fall, and the bears catch some of it. Then, up in the night, they watch the moon together from the top of the house. The tree house remains throughout on the right-hand side of the double pages as the action flows to and fro. The complexity of the house and its platforms and furnishings plus the comings and goings of the other characters demand close attention to the finely sketched details. The actions may provoke smiles, but there is also a strong esthetic component to the modulating colors that grow more intense as the day ends. There may be a message beyond that of simple friendship in this beautifully told visual tale, but it is not openly evident. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—A wordless picture book about an elaborate wooden structure in the tree. Three stories tall, it soaks up the water surrounding its base as animals inhabit its various nooks and crannies. Bears, peacocks, owls, and a hippo all find different ways to amuse themselves while up so high. Some swing from the branches; others read books or welcome newcomers. When it's time to go, the animals leave as friends. Two panda bears ride on the hippo's back and a black bear makes room in his flying boat for a peacock. Soft pastel spreads allow readers to see all the activity in and around the tree and the changing background colors. Children will gaze in wonder at this tree house and understand the rhino's longing (and obvious impatience) to be up in its branches. This oversize picture book celebrates acceptance of others and the splendor of nature.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590788066
  • Publisher: Lemniscaat USA
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 794,949
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 13.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marije Tolman studied illustration and graphic design at the Royal Academy for Visual Arts in the Hague and at the Edinburgh Class of Art in Scotland.  She works full-time as a children's book illustrator in the Netherlands.  Her father, Ronald Tolman, is a sculptor, painter, and graphic artist.

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