Pick of the picture books

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The Independent Culture

A lifeline to those who consigned treehouses to the same Elysian fields as sand pits and paddling pools, Treehouses, by Paula Henderson and Adam Mornement (Frances Lincoln, £19.99) provides a fascinating account of "the earliest form of natural architecture".

In an interesting and linear fashion, the book covers the four "golden ages", or major periods of treehouse building, starting in ancient Rome with Caligula's tree banquets and ending with the futuristic designs provoked by the International Treehouse Competition in Hawaii. Meticulous photography is complemented by detailed research into the history of the arboreal abodes, including a glance at the traditional role of the treehouse in Indonesian tribes, but look to the case studies for real gold. Here we find John Malkovich's "human nest", the Ewok village in Oxfordshire, or Sam Edwards's construction, made from found objects including a submarine, boat, airplane, and 10m high T-Rex. For the inspired, the final section gives rough notes on building your own treehouse.