The poetic picture book: The tree with the ear by Annet Schaap  tells us about a little boy who has something to say but does not find a listening ear anywhere.
A little bird advises him to go the ‘utmost highest tree’ in the park. That tree has an ear in its trunk and not just any ear. It is an ear that really listens. It can hear the grass grow, it hears the wind rustle, and, if it listens even better, it hears how its roots are penetrating into the earth, how they grow, noiselessly, deeper and deeper.
When the boy arrives, a long queue of little beetles, daddy longlegs and mice is already standing near the tree, waiting for their turn to tell their story. As he is used to the noisiness of the city the boy does not hear their gentle voices, that resound from the mourning procession of the insects. They are speaking about Trude, the departed beetle.
With his big feet, the boy tramples over the animals and the already dead little beetle. The animals are indignant, they think he is a ‘rude, clumsy human child’. And then they listen to what he, ‘that big barbarian’ has to say. So he is allowed to tell his story anyway. The tree bends its ear towards him.
And all those who tell their story to it, feel that it is heard by the earth, the sky and the stars. It is understood by the depth, the space, the time.
We grow, when we are truly heard. He, she, who is not heard, remains small, we read. Finding a hearing ear, or offering one ourselves, is important. Where do you tell your story? Where do you place your ear?
The ear consists of three co-operating parts. The auricle, the outer ear, which picks up sounds all day long. The middle ear, which absorbs the vibrations with the eardrum and the ossicles. The vibrations are transferred to the cochlea, the third part, a coiled tube of fluid containing thousands of cilia, the inner ear. The auditory nerve passes the sound on to the brain, where it is recognized and translated into ‘hearing’. The vibrations follow a path from the exterior into the interior. Our ear is placed in the world. Sometimes we are all ears. Sometimes we listen with half an ear and what we hear goes in at one ear and out at the other. But a lot more is happening than just hearing sounds. The sounds subsequently create images. For instance, we see visions when hearing melodious music. Primeval rhythms make us move. During a reading we tend to stray off. What is heard evokes new images within us. We can also lend our ear to a friend, another person, expectantly, curiously, comfortingly, attentively, tenderly. The ear is a very special organ.
Who has modelled the spherical shape of the eyes? Who has pierced the orifices of the nostrils and ears?
If you wish to perceive God in and through mortal beings, then consider, how the human being is built in the womb of the mother; see how much skill and how many crafts have been employed on this matter and learn who is the Mother-Father of this sublime and divine image of man.
Just as from the ‘immovable being’ the first vibration resounds as the Word, in which the plan of all creation is entailed and it subsequently becomes Light, gets ensoulment and takes Life in a form, similarly, the ears are the first senses that during the development of the child within the womb become active, next the eyes and thereafter the sense of touch: little feet that kick, full of life. So the ear comes first, then the eye.
The call of the gnosis resounds as a mighty vibration through the all. A sensitive heart reacts, it co-resounds with the call thanks to the present divine spark. If you put your ear in your heart, you catch the subtle sounds of the gnosis. The inner hearing forms images, generates a deep desire. It gives directions to go your path. Listening to the heart is the beginning of insight, it is the door towards the inner vision.
He or she who is not willing to hear, must feel,
is a well-known saying. Profoundly it is saying that he or she who does not listen to the voice of the soul, will have to walk the path of experience with all the thereto belonging ups and downs, until the ear is placed in the heart.
In the heart, the ear learns to know the gentle whisper of the soul. Those who develop this inner sense, those who can truly listen, in them the Word, the Divine Plan, can find entrance for
they have ears to hear and eyes to see.
They no longer refuse to listen. Even though they fear to become discouraged, their courage does not fail.
The tree with the ear hears every whisper in the park and far, far beyond. The animals can rely upon it.
Hermes directs himself, praying with his entire soul and power, to the universal ear that truly listens, the ineffable being:
Lend an ear to me who prays that I may never be severed from the Gnosis, the true knowledge that belongs to my nucleus being.
Incline thyself to me and fill me with thy power; with this grace I shall bring the Light to those of my race who are in ignorance. 
In the depth, in space, through time, everyone’s story, every state of being, is heard and surrounded with light. He or she who hears and listens, does not stay small but grows, becomes immense in the consciousness of the soul and the spirit.
 Annet Schaap (1965) is a Dutch illustrator. She has illustrated about two hundred children’s books. In 2017 she made her debut as a writer with the children’s book Lampje [Little Lamp]. The book has been awarded the Gouden Griffel [Golden Granger]. She has also received all the important prizes that she could have won. De boom met het oor [The tree with the ear] came out in 2019.