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A made-to-order child

Twig Child

Gerda Dendooven

One cold winter’s night, a man goes out looking for a child because his wife so desperately wants one. But he has doubts about every child he meets in his search. Until he finds a branch that looks like a baby. His wife doesn’t react too well at first and refuses to hold the twig child. But then, the next morning, she sees leaves on its little twig hands.

A new highlight in her impressive body of work
Zilveren Palet jury
Without a doubt one of the most beautiful books of the year
De Morgen

In this beautiful book, Gerda Dendooven tells a fairy tale about having children and loving them, and she does so with a subtle layer of humour. The story takes the reader to various locations – from an ice-cold winter night to a warm moment beside the heater – where the illustrations capture the emotion and atmosphere of the moment again and again. You can almost feel the cold snow on your nose and the warm heater at your feet. Parents’ love for their children, however different it can be from what you might expect, is magnificently rendered in this heart-warming tale.

An originality, a power and a layering that distinguish it from all the other picture books
Boekenleeuw jury
'She is one of my heroes'
Kitty Crowther, winner of the 2010 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

'I must have met Gerda Dendooven at a publishing party a long time ago. And since then, we have always stayed in touch. Gerda writes and draws, and so much more. The thing that really strikes me is the amazing energy that she has. And this energy also translates itself in her work. She teaches on an illustration master’s course in Ghent. She writes for newspapers under a pen name. She writes plays, and draws live on stage. She also made stained-glass windows for a library in Flanders.

She is one of my heroes. Two of my favourite books are 'Where Is Mummy?' and 'Twig Child',  that both deal with one of the most important themes that Gerda keeps coming back to: motherhood. Both books also have a very strong connection to fairy tales (mainly the ones that seem to be very rural). I love looking at her characters: they’re funny, sensuous and huge, with big hands; they always seem to dance. I find her to be connected to Gus Bofa and Wolf Erlbruch, and to the period of art deco. I simply love the way she uses ink.'