Tjibbe Veldkamp & Philip Hopman - Tom the Tamer
Creative problem-solving at its finest
Tom’s father is so afraid of animals - even snails and butterflies scare him off - he won’t come out of the house.
Tom decides to take drastic measures.
First he trains a polar bear and sneaks it into the house.
Then he smuggles in a tiger, a squid, a tortoise, a snake, two peacocks, three hippos and a small flock of flamingos.
His father doesn’t seem to notice, but what will happen when he does?
"Generally speaking, children like their parents to be all-knowing and to fear nothing - they want them to be paragons of authority, capability and calm. Nonetheless, it can be hugely satisfying, reassuring even, to see Mom shriek at the sight of a mouse or Dad throw a tantrum over a traffic jam. "Tom the Tamer," a beguiling Dutch import by Tjibbe Veldkamp (previously the author of "Little Monkey's Big Peeing Circus"; the title conveys the author's mischievous sensibility) and Philip Hopman (who also collaborated with Veldkamp on "22 Orphans" and "The School Trip"), expands this notion into an inventive, absurdist fantasy about a fearless young boy and his trepidatious dad ... Hopman's exuberant pen-and-ink drawings, cheerfully enhanced by washes of warm watercolor paints, bring plenty of humorous motion and detail. Children will love the father's frenetic leap out of the house when he realizes what he's been sitting on, as well as the smiles on the faces of the animals in attendance. Happiness is an "I told you so" story when the tables are turned. "
-New York Times Book Review
"This tender, loopy, and unconventional work by a Dutch team stars a boy who wants to lure his phobic father away from his model railway and into the backyard so that the father can meet the animals he's frightened of face-to-face ... Veldkamp avoids analyzing the reasons behind the father's behavior and concentrates instead on Tom's exuberant schemes and their execution; the episodes recall gentler moments from Roald Dahl or Russell Hoban. Similarly, Hopman's illustrations are first cousin to Quentin Blake's, full of fanciful color and a jumble of imagined detail. The idea that Tom naturally takes the lead in curing his father's neurosis seems perfectly appropriate, and his confidence gives the story extra fizz."
- Publishers Weekly
"Hopman's luminous double-page spreads of soft watercolor and loose pen-and-ink lines lend humor to this multilayered story. Children will pick up subtle clues in the illustrations to the source of the father's emotional distance and the healing power of play."
-Kirkus (Starred review)
"This book is as warm and cozy as a Polar Bear chair. I want to live in this book and never leave it."
- Judy Schachner
"Tom the Tamer is a fun an imaginative adventure that will delight readers ages 4 and up with it's interesting 32 page tale on how to conquer a father's fear of animals.. The author Tjibbe Veldcam, uses may different types of animals to accomplish Tom's goal from various climates and habitats, which young animal lovers wil notice right away. This lends to the hilarity of the story, yet reinforces the fact that the story swims with fiction. The illustrator, Philip Hopman, has created charming illustrations that balance the text and fills it with life. Children of all ages will be able to live in Tom's imagination during the reading of the story and will relish in the outcome."
"Tom the Tamer" is gorgeously illustrated (in tasteful apricot and aqua pastels), and gi-normously funny. A final foldout poster of Tom and his father included in a tremendous pyramid of all the tamed animals is spectacular! Kids of all ages and even adults will adore it."
- Midwest Book Review
"Veldkamp has created a broad comedy that stretches the imagination in a most wonderful way. It also takes the parent/child relationship and merrily turns it on its head ...
Hopman's illustrations add to the fun, from the crowded shelves of the pet store to the graceful curve and smile of a polar bear chair. The illustrations have a certain wildness but also a friendly style that makes sure that everyone knows this is pure fun.
An exuberant book that is full of zany fun."
- Waking Brain Cells