Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peter van Straaten - Een jongen en zijn boom

Today I bought the only children's book ever written by Peter van Straaten: "Een jongen en zijn boom" ("A boy and his tree"). It tells the story of John; a young teenager who moves with his mother to a new neighbourhood where he is constantly picked on by the other children. He finds piece in nature, and specifically in the comforting presence of a large tree. This tree -"his tree"- personifies in a way all the qualities John lacks and longs for: strength, piece and maturity.

I was very touched by the story, because it made me remember my own puberty when I had similar insecurities as John. This was incidentally the first piece of writing I read by Peter van Straaten, who is more celebrated as an illustrator than a writer. I've written about his illustrations before on this blog. Anyway, for those of you who understand Dutch :), go check it out!

On a different note: I will be moving to the United States in a few days, to study there for a year at a graduate school in Minnesota. I'm very excited about it. This will also mean that I will post fewer images or artwork on this blog, at least, that's what I expect. I plan on making a detailed notebook during my stay in Minnesota with lots of Peter van Straaten-meets-Ronald Searle-like drawings. So stay tuned!

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