A polar bear riding a whale in the ocean. Hmmm. Polar bear…check. Whale…check. Ocean…check. This must be a book about global warming and species extinction. The cover of The Tree House (de Boomhut) certainly suggests this possibility, although I’m not quite sure what a polar bear riding on the head of a whale signifies.

In the opening pages of this stunning (and wordless) picture book, a polar bear and a brown bear climb a treehouse in the middle of the ocean. After some exploration of their new abode, they do what any two bears would do in a treehouse: make toast and crack open some books. However, a tree house in the ocean is a tough thing to conceal, and soon the flamingos arrive, followed by a hippo, a couple of panda bears, owls, crows, and the ultimate party crasher, a rhino. Although welcoming, the two bears spend a lot of time looking off into the distance while the locals make merry in the branches of the treehouse. Yes, even introverts, introverted bears, have parties. As the guests disperse, the story ends. There is no follow-up page with warnings about pollution and the necessity of conservation, or the tragic plight of the polar bear. Sometimes a Tree House is just a treehouse? Surely not.

Read More