The Tree House

Oct. 3, 2009 – Nov. 22, 2009 Deze tentoonstelling is afgelopen
During the Kinderboekenweek Kunsthal Rotterdam presents a series of etchings that together constitute a unique picture book entitled The Tree House. In fresh pastel colours the pictures represent the story of a polar bear and a brown bear sitting together in a tree house. The pictures have been made by father Ronald and daughter Marije Tolman.

Without words

The children's picture book by father and daughter Tolman is unusual because it contains - apart from the title - no text. Without words the detailed illustrations tell the story of the two bears. One by one they end up in the tree house. The polar bear sits on the back of a whale that brings him to the tree while the brown bear follows a special boat. When the water level goes down, more and more animals arrive, over land and through the air. Every single animal wants to enter the tree house, which consequently becomes chockfull. All this happens while the two bears were actually more than perfectly happy being together, just the two of them....


The highly imaginative ‘tree house etchings' made by Ronald form the background against which Marije made up the story of the two bears in a world full of expectation and amazement. The tree house is a recurring element on every page and was inspired by the tree house that used to stand in the garden of the Tolman Family.

Tree House Drawings

Because the picture book does not contain any words it can be seen as a guideline for storytelling which triggers the beholder to come up with numerous possible stories. From one of the pictures in the book a print is made on which children are invited to draw their very own tree house and tell their own story about the two bears. The best drawings and stories are given are displayed at the exhibition at the Kunsthal.


Ronald Tolman is a sculptor, painter and graphic artist. His daughter Marije studied typographic design at the Royal Academy of Art at The Hague.  For Lemniscaat publishers she illustrated various (picture) books amongst which ‘Mejuffrouw Muis en haar heerlijke huis' which was awarded the Vlag en Wimpel prize.  


The Tree House will be published during the Kinderboekenweek  at Lemniscaat Publishers (ISBN 9789047702290, price €14,95)

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