Marije Tolman & Ronald Tolman - The Tree House
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.
Artists Marije Tolman and her father, Ronald Tolman, bring their unique vision to this astonishing wordless picture book, in which each spread is a work of art.
2010 Winner of the Ragazzi Prize for Fiction at the Bologna International Children's Book Festival
2011 Outstanding International Best Book of the Year, The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)
"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. . . . 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."
- Jury of the Ragazzi Prize for Fiction at the Bologna International Children's Book Festival
"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)
"it features art executed with a confident, sure hand. The Tolmans aren't afraid of empty space or repeated scenes ... It is delightful. Leisurely. Imaginative. It doesn't spell things out for the reader. The colors are absolutely edible. When a flock of flamingos streams by, the range of pinks and oranges is like what I imagine sunsets are like at the Taj Mahal. The blues range from delicate, scratchy, foggy almost whites to velvety dark cobalts. Details are drawn in careful pencil, and the tree itself is a repeated graphic that has the organic texture of my friend Sarah's lithos. The size of the printed book, and even its construction, are factors here too. Wordless books are most ideally suited to lengthy examination while laying flat on the floor. You want big and stitched for books like this ... Wordless. Sumptuous. Sweet. Accessible. I love the Dutch."
"a wordless picture book, breathtaking in its beauty, scope, and originality. ... Publishers Weekly calls this a "treasure box of images," and boy howdy are they right about that. It possesses a "quiet effervescence," they add. 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
"This celebrates the shared joy of reading, and of friends welcomed and hospitality given ... Wordless books are less common today than they were previously but this shows once again how evocative the format can be, and how useful as a stimulus to children's thoughts and language. In an elegantly oversized trim size, the double spreads start at a luxuriously empty title page. Even at the peak of the action when all the animals are gathered, there isn't a feeling of crowding, but rather ample space to let the eye really explore the details. Most details are presented in a spidery line with a few dabs of color solidly filling in some shapes but these never obscure the airy quality which pervades the art. Children would be intrigued to examine this, to think and talk about what is happening, where and why."
- Center of Children's Lit, Carthage College
"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 word story together. Or they can simply enjoy each page's marvelous and truly distinct illustration."
- ForeWord Magazine
"This oversized wordless book is full of color and imagination ... This book is joy for the eyes! The author is a children's book illustrator in the Netherlands and her father is a sculptor, painter, and graphic artist. I like to use wordless books with my students to get them to really look at the illustrations and then have them make up a story about what is going on. It leads to inferencing and good discussions."
- Kutztown University Book Review