cover image The Tree House

The Tree House

Marije Tolman, . . Boyds Mills/Lemniscaat, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59078-806-6

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.)