cover image The Island

The Island

Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman. Lemniscaat USA, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-935954-19-4

This ethereal sequel to the Tolmans’ remarkable debut, The Tree House (2010), stars the same genial polar bear in a similar series of wordless spreads. This time, the bear explores a series of islands in a vast, blue ocean. Some are natural outcroppings dotted with palms, while others are scribbly wooden structures that rise out of the water like abandoned fishing platforms. One is inhabited by hundreds of puffins. Another is topped by a kind of waterwheel, which the bear boards happily along with a sloth and some squirrels. The friendly storks, armadillo, and other creatures that accompany the polar bear are closely drawn in saturated colors, while the lonely expanses of sky and water are rendered with pale tints. On one island, the polar bear comes across a raccoon playing the violin. The bear stands enchanted, listening, a furry paw over its heart. The final spread shows the two cuddled up on the shore of a new island, gazing at the stars. It’s the freest, most joyful kind of exercise of the imagination, one that holds delight for every viewer. Ages 3–up. (Nov.)