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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Wordless, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 40
1. Picture Book Roundup - kind, find, and confined

It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup.  Here are three that struck my fancy:

Kind. This boy is the best!

Have you seen Elephant? 

Written and illustrated by David Barrow.
Gecko Press, 2016

A kind young boy plays hide-and-seek with his elephant friend and takes care to keep the game going, despite the fact that his friend is a very poor hider! Have you seen Elephant? is bright and cheerful and funny, and above all - kind. This is the first book I've seen from Gecko Press and the first by David Barrow. I love it!

Confined? Can the colortamer catch them all?

Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color

Written and illustrated by Julia Denos
Balzer Bray, 2016

Bright, bold, and expressive, Swatch is a color tamer - trapping and using colors in the most fantastic of ways. A bold and fearless artist, no color had escaped her artistic eye ... no color but one,
"Morning came, and there it was, fast fading and fierce, the King of All Yellows, blooming in the sidewalk crack in spite of the shadows. Swatch was ready .... At last, Yellowest Yellow would be hers."
Or would it?

This is the first book that Julia Denos has written as well as illustrated. I would love this book even if my favorite color were not the hero of the story!

Find. Where is that cat?

Spot, the Cat 

Illustrated by Henry Cole
Little Simon, 2016

A beautifully detailed, wordless book - more than just a seek-and-find, it follows the path of an adventurous cat in the city and the boy who wants to find him. Join the young boy and search the city for Spot, the cat.

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2. Silent books

Silent books exhibit, photo by A. R

Silent books exhibit, photo by A. R

Librarians usually call them “wordless books”;  recently I visited the Halifax Central Library to see the traveling IBBY exhibit of Silent Books. This is a collection of around 100 books, from all over the world, that anyone, no matter their native tongue, can read. In fact, that’s the whole idea of the exhibit—a collection of books accessible to newcomers – immigrants and refugees who arrive in a land where their native tongue is not the lingua franca. The collection was created, according to the IBBY website, in response to the waves of refugees from Africa and the Middle East arriving in the Italian island, Lampedusa. The collection created the first library on the island to be used by local and immigrant children.

Here in Nova Scotia, there are already Syrian refugee families arriving, even in our rural area, and we expect there to be more. What a wonderful idea that we can offer books for families to share, no matter their language. We all have wordless books in our collections, and I am working on creating a booklist so that it is easy to find them, both for the public and for our staff.

La caca magica" photo by A. Reynolds

“La caca magica” photo by A. Reynolds

Now on to the books in the exhibit. The complete catalogue of the books is available here. Take a look: the books truly are from all over the world. I saw books from Portugal, Spain, Russia, Thailand, France, Germany, Pakistan, and many other countries. And the thing is, I could read all of these books. I may not have understood the title, as it was in language I do not know, but I certainly understood the stories. That’s the beauty of a picture book – a short story that often makes one think about life. I read a book about an urban couple who went out to pick blackberries, only to find the neighbor’s dog peeing on the bushes. So they grew their own. I read a book about a Congolese deli with an International clientele. I read about three pigs who tricked a wolf and then made a nice rug for their home.

Some of these books made me sigh at the beauty and design, such as Loup Noir, from France. Illustrated in black and white, all angles and starkness, this story cleverly tricked the reader into thinking the wolf was bad, but in the end, the wolf saved the day. It reminds us that appearances are not what they seem, and our first impressions need deeper thought before we jump to conclusions. I laughed out loud at La Caca Magica from Spain. My inner five year old chortled at the graphic-novel style story of a bird who poops on a rabbit, but gets a big surprise in the end.

Loup Noir" cover, photo by A. Reynolds

“Loup Noir” cover, photo by A. Reynolds

These books were funny. They were endearing. They were absurd, beautiful works of art. I felt like I was on a world tour where I got a little insight into stories from other cultures, stories that felt very familiar. Look again at your wordless books. They are silent in one way, but then again, they speak volumes. And if you are lucky enough to be near this exhibit as it tours the world, go see it!

The post Silent books appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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3. Before After

Before After
written and illustrated by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui
Candlewick Press, 2014

Study the cover of this wordless picture book and you'll start to get a sense of what you'll find within: acorn --> oak (before, after), caterpillar --> butterfly, chicken --> egg. But wait. You know that old conundrum about the chicken and the egg? Well, the spread before chicken is on the left and egg is on the right, has egg on the left and chicken on the right! HAH!

So. Basic wordless concept book, eh?


There are spreads for deep thinking, like the one with the rocking horse on the left and the rocking chair on the right. (There are several before and after this that ponder time in a variety of ways, actually.) There are some amazing pairs that consider building up and tearing down, culminating in the ultimate combination of such: tearing down rock to build up a sculpture.

There are occasionally full-page spread befores followed by full-page spread afters, just to mix things up design-wise.

There are "characters" who reappear, like the ink that comes after the squid, and the pigeon who gives a feather for a quill pen in the ink, which comes before the typewriter, and then the pigeon comes back as the precursor to airmail (sending the letter the typewriter typed, perhaps?).

There are literary references (3 Pigs and Cinderella) for alert observers.

There are spreads perfect for conversations about cause and effect.

This is not a book I should be trying to review with words. We should be sitting side-by-side in a quiet corner, slowly turning the pages and chatting about all we notice.

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4. Art Spiegelman’s Wordless has its final NYC performance March 13th

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 8.05.07 AM.png

Wordless! is a collaboration between artist Art Spiegelman and musician Phillip Johnston—but it’s really about Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, and Milt Gross. The evening—which I was fortunate to catch last year—involves the Johnston Sextet improvising over a slide show of the wordless comics of the above as set up by Spiegelman. And Art being Art, this is also a lucid, connection making journey through comics and art history, the oppressive woodcuts of Masereel eventually coming out in Spiegelman’s own work. And for you social history buffs, the continued theme of young women who are done in by their own society flouting desires—aka getting knocked up by some cad —provides an interesting window into the time period of these comics.

Wordless! was commissioned for the same Australian arts festival which saw the astonishing The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell and Fourplay.

Wordless! is quite an amazing piece of theater and while it’s been touring for a bit New Yorkers will have ONLY ONE MORE CHANCE TO SEE IT! And it’s this March 13th. Deets:

Art Spiegelman & Phillip Johnston’s 
one performance only:
Friday, March 13, 7:30 pm. Miller Theater

Columbia University Theater 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street)  

Tickets here.

If you haven’t seen Wordless, do it. You’ll kick yourself forever for not seeing it when you had the chance. And here’s a video trailer in you need any more convincing.

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5. Picture book roundup - more funny ones!

Here are two new funny additions to add to my earlier post, Picture Book Roundup - new or coming soon!

We were reading these at work the other night.  All you could hear were laughs, chuckles, and "awww"s.

  • Dyckman, Ame. 2015. Wolfie the Bunny. New York: Little Brown.  Illustrated by Zacharia OHora.

This one had all the library staff laughing! Wolfie is the cutest little wolf in a bunny suit, but the star of this story is his sister, Dot. Doesn't anyone else realize that a wolf does not make a good brother for a bunny? Every time I read it, I find something else amusing in the illustrations.  See you at the Carrot Patch Co-op! (Bring your own shopping bag.)

  • Slater, David Michael. 2015. The Boy & the Book. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. Illustrated by Bob Kolar.

This wordless book about a book and a "rough-and-tumble" little boy will crack you up and then make you say "Awww!" It's sure to become a librarian favorite. You'll love the blue book (but "read" them all!)

Musing for the day: How does one become a wordless picture book author? ;)

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6. Pool

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

by JiHyeon Lee  (Chronicle Books, 2015)

Hello to you! And you! And you!

Here I am, ready to flip my g o n e  f i s h i n g sign back around.

First, have you had a nice summer? I have been away from the grind, sitting on a deck, writing books and reading them, and it’s been so very nice to be off the grid for a while. But I do miss my books.

You might have seen today’s floating around this summer, and I can’t think of a better one to celebrate the season.

Pool. The word itself conjures up both serenity and splashing chaos, and both of those things exist inside this book.

At its heart, this is a tale of a friendship. Even as grownups there’s a dance to the early moments of togetherness, and this story is that thing in book form.

A boy at the edge of a pool, all the hope of his day before him. A crowd, scary with its wacky floats and almost-tentacles.

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

(click to enlarge)

That’s when he dives, under it all and to the quiet, and that’s when he meets his friend. And that’s when things get weird. Isn’t that how it is with friendship? You see new things together, you name the new things together, you create a new kind of community together. The fish and plants and the world under the crazies is bizarre to us, but is it to them? Perhaps not.

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

(click to enlarge)

That’s the beauty of finding a friend in the quiet places, whether or not you were looking.

And at the end, when the crowd is exiting to the left, the friends leave to the right. Those two, going forward. Together.

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

(click to enlarge)

This is one of those books that I fell in love with when I first saw the cover. And it’s worth wondering why.

I love that the face could belong to either the girl or the boy. I like to think it’s after the magic, both because of the sweet smile and the still-dreamy fish, reflected and real. And I love that by staring at us, it’s almost an invitation. To play, to swim, to step away from the crowd at the edge of the pool.


Can’t get enough of this book? Me either! Here are some other places I loved reading about it. Danielle at This Picture Book Life paired it with the most adorable pool floats (ice cream sandwich!), and there’s still enough summer left to make that dream a reality! JiHyeon Lee is over at Picturebook Makers talking about the story behind the story and shares some process pictures, which I can’t ever get enough. And you can download some free Pool wallpapers at Chronicle’s happy home online. Enjoy the swim!

Thanks to Chronicle for the images in this post!

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7. Hello, Mr. Hulot

hellomrhulotCoverby David Merveille, based on the character brought to life by Jacques Tati.

{published 2013, by NorthSouth Books}

I was smitten by the looks of this book at first glance. Perhaps it was a bit of that orange and blue thing, and a bit of it just being so spectacular. But first, I had to introduce myself to Monsieur Hulot, the comical character from French cinema, and the spirit and subject of this book.

His trademarks are his raincoat, umbrella, pipe, and sheer ineptitude.

I loved him immediately. Here’s a trailer (love those title graphics!) for Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.)

breakerSo now that you are entirely delighted and heartwarmed, isn’t it the greatest news ever that a nearly wordless picture book contains this nutty dude? Yes. I know.These endpapers are reminiscent of the title graphics in the trailer as well as the movie poster, so, of course we love that.The shapes of his raincoat-suited-self-H and an umbrella-O set you up for the hysterical stories inside. This title pages sets you up for humor, heart, and charm, and the following pages do not disappoint.

Here’s what I mean.FrenchRivieraIt’s a series of stories told through pictures. Two pages contain witty puzzles and a complete visual narrative. This one, French Riviera, is one of my favorites. You think Monsieur Hulot is floating underneath the waves and gallivanting with sea creatures.

But no. He’s just biking next to a fish truck.

Brilliant might be an understatement.TheCrossingThe Crossing also had me in stitches, and reminded me a teensy bit of The Other Side. What seems to be true might not be at all!

What a treat to be surprised and delighted by this goofy guy!You’ll never guess what preceded this page.And you’ll be shocked by the conclusion of this one.

If you are a picture book writer, be sure to grab this one. It is a master class in the suspense and payoff of the page turn.

Sly, subversive, and completely unexpected. A thrill to read! And perhaps a good pair with Matt Phelan’s Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton?


Review copy provided by NorthSouth Books.

Tagged: comics, david merveille, graphic novel, jacques tati, mr. hulot, northsouth books, picture books, wordless

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8. Picture Book Roundup - Wordless edition

It's been ages since I've done a picture book roundup!  Here are two wordless masterpieces.

  • Becker, Aaron. 2013. Journey. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
Harold and the Purple Crayon for a new generation.  Beautiful!

  • Kim, Patti. 2014. Here I Am. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press. 
An insightful story of a young boy's experience in emigrating from Asia to the United States.

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9. The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

Last week, I got a Facebook message mention from Lester Laminack--he had a book he thought I might like. Well, when Lester recommends a book, you buy it immediately. Lester only likes great books and I didn't want to miss anything he recommended. He recommended The Girl and the Bicycle.

I was happy to see this new book by Mark Pett. I read The Boy and the Airplane and loved it so I was excited to see another by this author/illustrator.  I really don't think a classroom can have too many quality wordless picture books.  So I am always looking for new ones to add to my collection. A good wordless book provides so many opportunities for conversation and learning.

The Girl and the Bicycle is about a little girl who REALLY wants a bike she sees in a store window. But she doesn't have enough money for the bike. So she works really hard to earn and save her money. It takes her a very long time. (I love that the illustrations let the reader know that it took her a long time--so brilliant!).  But when she goes to buy the bike, it is no longer in the store window.  A very sad moment for the little girl who has been working so hard for so long.

This book gives readers lots to talk about and I LOVE the style of Mark Pett's illustrations.  This is a totally separate story from Pett's other wordless book but a conversation comparing the two would be worthwhile and interesting.

As an aside, I took some time to visit Mark Pett's blog this week. He has this amazing zip code tradition which I completely love.   You must read this post! He might be one of my new favorite people.

A great wordless picture book!

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10. Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston are touring with ‘Wordless’

tumblr mz84jyzaJm1t6zetdo1 1280 Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston are touring with Wordless

A few years ago, an Australian impresario named Jordan Verzar put together the Graphic Festival at the Sydney Opera House which included a dream list of multi-media comics projects, including the Neil Gaiman/Eddie Campbell/Fourplay String Quartet collaboration The Truth is a Cave in a Black Mountain and the Art Spiegelman/Phillip Johnston Sextet collaboration Wordless. I was lucky enough to see both of these when the came to the US earlier this year, and I’m happy to say that Wordless is touring the country, and may just come to a city near you. If it does, run run to see it!

“Wordless” is, ironically, not wordless at all, but Spiegelman narrating a history of the early, silent woodcut graphic novels of the first half of the 2oth century, works by artists like Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Milt Gross, Otto Nuckel, and Si Lewen. The projected comics are accompanied by improvised jazz styling by the Phillip Johnston Sextet, and the evening is full of information, music and the magic of art and storytelling. You can read more about it on a tumblr Spiegelman has set up, (Spiegelman tumbles, says the headline) and here’s an article from SFGate with more thoughts on the venture. And here are the dates:

Tour Details

Wednesday, October 8
Cleveland OH — Oberlin College

Friday, October 10
UC Berkeley, CA — Zellerbach Auditorium

Sunday, October 12
Seattle, WA — Seattle Theatre Group, Moore Theater

Wednesday, October 15
Los Angeles, CA — UCLA, Royce Hall

Friday, October 17
Santa Barbara, CA — UCSB, Arts & Lectures

Sunday, October 19
Kansas City, MO — Kauffman Center

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Washington, DC — GWU Lisner Auditorium

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Boston, MA — The Institute of Contemporary Art

10639647 703291259739045 937452738754018734 n Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston are touring with Wordless

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11. The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

I have had the release date for The Farmer and the Clown on my calendar for months. This was a book I was excited about and one that I wanted to make sure to get right away. Well, I received a review copy of the book last week and loved it even more than I thought I would!

The book (by the amazing Marla Frazee) tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a farmer and a clown.  And can I say that the clown is so adorable!  Happy and fun on every page.  I fell in love with this book on the first read and everyone I had it too squeals or "aw"s while reading.  This week, we read it twice in the classroom. I purchased the kindle edition so that we could read it on the screen. I am so glad I did this because the details in the illustrations, some that I missed during my first few reads, are critical and would have been so hard for kids to see without the projection.  This book is simple, but it leaves the reader with so much to think and talk about. And it leaves the reader with a feeling of joy.

I have said many times on this blog that I LOVE wordless books.  This is pretty new for me as I've learned to love them in the last 5-6 years.  This is by far, one of my favorites.  I love the characters and I am amazed at how well they are each developed in this wordless book. I like the story and the characters and the art.  I love Marla Frazee and have yet to read one of her books that I didn't fall in love with.  This one is definitely one of my Caldecott hopefuls.

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12. Fox's Garden

by Princesse Camcam
Enchanted Lion Books, 2014
review copy provided by the publisher

This newest book in Enchanted Lion's Stories Without Words series is magical and perfectly suited to being a wordless picture book -- it is the story of a fox who needs a safe place to give birth to her kits. 

The snowy nighttime scenes have the silence of secrecy as the fox moves towards a secluded house. She is chased by a woman and a man, but quietly observed by a boy as she finds shelter in the greenhouse. The boy brings her a gift but doesn't interfere. In the end, the fox repays the boy's kindness.

The quote opposite the title page captures the quietness of the story:

"On the fresh snow,
as in my heart,
footprints, traces."

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13. Snow

Snow by Isao Sasaki

by Isao Sasaki (Viking, 1982)

Snow by Isao Sasaki

I’m not too sure if this book is still in print or not, but I snagged it at a used bookstore in Seattle once upon a long time ago. It was the best six bucks I spent in the entire city. Maybe the best six bucks ever.

This book felt familiar, and I’m sure I’ve buried some memories of reading it as a kid somewhere deep inside my book-person-soul. Opening the pages again to a story both calm and busy was also the only way to experience any snow in these parts.

And so, Snow.

Snow by Isao SasakiSnow by Isao SasakiSnow by Isao Sasaki

The book itself is a square. It’s the soft gray of winter skies. Each illustration is framed within a border of a lighter shade of that barely gray. Maybe it’s its 1982-ness, but it also feels like looking at a slide. Remember those?

Because of this bit of framing, this story is told in snippets like snapshots—of a day, of a season, of a bustling platform, but it also feels like we’re watching from a distance, remembering something that was so simple and sweet.Snow by Isao Sasaki

And at the same time, Snow is intimate. All of the action happens in the foreground. That’s where the train rumbles and the station agent shovels.

Once upon another long time ago I wrote about the rule of thirds, and that’s beautifully at work here.

We’re looking in from the outside, thanks to the white space, but we’re right there with them, thanks to the foreground action. It’s a balance, a push and pull, and some inviting tension in the quietest of stories.

Snow by Isao Sasaki

Only one spread has an illustration that takes up the entire page. A wide rectangle becomes a perfect track for rolling in. (Or is it out? But does it matter?) A wide rectangle becomes the perfect break in the pace of this book.

Much like the snow, falling heavier at times, lighter at others. Much like the light of the day, changing from dawn to dark.

Snow by Isao SasakiSnow by Isao Sasaki


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14. Wednesday

by Anne Bertier
translated from the French by Claudia Z. Bedrick
first American edition: Enchanted Lion Books, 2014

Brain Pickings' Best Children's Books of 2014 strikes yet again!

I am adding this book to my collection of "books to read at the beginning of the school year." It will also be good for discussions of theme.

Little Round and Big Square begin the book playing nicely together, even though they are different. In their favorite game, one says a word and they both transform into that thing. By splitting in half and flipping their halves, both are able to become butterflies, for instance.

Soon, Big Square is suggesting shapes that Little Round cannot make. Both retreat to their corners.

Until Little Round suggests that they work together. Then the fun really begins.

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15. Books I Could Read A Million Times--Chalk

A funny thing happened at school this week. One of my kids saw me in the hallway and yelled  "Mrs. Sibberson, when I come to library today, will you have any of those empty books?"  Empty books? What could she have possibly meant?  "You know, the books with no words?" So I decided to read CHALK by Bill Thomson aloud this week, since she had asked so cleverly for wordless books.

CHALK is a great new wordless book--one that I would love to see win the Caldecott Award.  Mary Lee reviewed it a few months ago but it wasn't a book that I took the time to fall in love with right away. You see, I am a text girl and I have very little patience for taking the time to enjoy a wordless book on my own.  I do not always take the time to really take in the visuals. But this week, I discovered what a treat sharing CHALK with children is!  I love watching the kids' faces each time I turned the page.  The amazement, excitement, surprise, fear, and discovery were all so clear on their faces.  Their conversations around the book have been amazing and this is definitely a book I could read a million times.

So, today, I am adding CHALK  to my list of BOOKS I COULD READ A MILLION TIMES.  I think this is the first wordless picture book to make the list but it is definitely one that deserves to be there.

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16. Best Wordless Picture Books

Personally, I'm not that into wordless books. I find myself fumbling for what to say when I 'read' them to my kids...and I write for children for fun.

However, I see great value in them for children who are not intimidated by such things. They can create their own stories and read them to us.

Our favorite wordless picture books are:

Chalk1. Chalk by Bill Thomson: This is our hands-down favorite. Some multicultural children find a bag of chalk. Everything they draw becomes real...butterflies, the sun...and then, one of the kids draws a dinosaur. The tyrannosaurus comes after the kids. They run for shelter in the playground. The dinosaur can't beat the kids' creativity, though. They draw something to destroy the dinosaur.

Tuesday2. Tuesday by David Wiesner: Evening comes, and the frogs come out. They fly through the quiet sky until morning, when they wait for their next excursion.

The Chicken Thief3. The Chicken Thief

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17. 2 by Suzy Lee

 Mirror   Seven Footer Press  2003   Shadow   Chronicle Books   2010   A pair of wordless picture books with similar themes from an artist I like to think of as the Master of the Gutter.  That's a good thing, I'll explain.   In Mirror, a sullen girl notices the mirror she is slumped near and makes a series of poses, modifying and monitoring her image.  Slowly she begins to dance with her

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18. ICE by Arthur Geisert

Ice (Stories Without Words)
Ice (Stories Without Words)
by Arthur Geisert
Enchanted Lion Books, March 1, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

It's hard to remember what it's like to be so hot that you would devise a plan to make a combination airship/sailboat to sail across the world to nab an iceberg and tow it back home, but that's just what Arthur Geisert's trademark pigs do. They bring it home, chop it in to big ice cubes and cool down.

At the end of the story, we leave the pigs, once again gathered around the table where they hatched the iceberg plan (but with the fan blowing a cool breeze over a block of ice) and we wonder...what kind of plan will they hatch next?

Did I mention? This is a wordless book, the second title in Enchanted Lion's Stories Without Words series. The publisher suggests that this book would make a good read aloud, and I do love to read (silently) aloud wordless picture books, but the pictures are so small and detailed on this one that it would probably work best as a "read in the lap" or a "small group of students reads it to each other as the teacher peeks over their shoulders to unobtrusively observe" kind of book.

Definitely one for my "Wordless Picture Books" tub, and I know just the ELL that I'll hand it to first thing in the morning!

Here's another review by Travis at 100 Scope Notes.

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19. April picture book roundup

It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup and they've been piling up on my desk.  Here are a few new favorites:

Mayer, Mercer. 2011. Octopus Soup. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Wordless and wonderful!  Find out how Octopus escapes the chef's pot! Too funny!
(Look inside)

Yaccarino, Dan. 2011. All the Way to America: the Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel. New York: Knopf.
When Dan grew up, he married Helen.  These are my grandparents.  Together Dan and Helen opened a market.  They sold all sorts of wonderful Italian food.  Now the little shovel belonged to Dan, and he used it to measure out beans, macaroni, and olives.
Dan Yaccarino's personal tale of immigration and tradition.  A perfect introduction to genealogy, and a great choice for this summer's reading theme of One World, Many Stories.

Watt, Melanie. 2011. You're Finally Here! New York: Hyperion.
This hilarious book has been waiting for you, and it's about time you showed up!

Pfister, Marcus. 2011. Questions, Questions. New York: NorthSouth.

Simple, thoughtful and artistic.  Guaranteed to elicit questions.
How do birds learn how to sing? What brings summer after spring? What turns leaves from green to brown and sends them floating gently down?
Beaumont, Karen. 2011. No Sleep for the Sheep! Ill. by Jackie Urbanovic. New York: Harcourt.

Get ready for a long night -
In the big red barn on the farm, on the farm, in the big red

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20. Favorite Series: Fox and Hen

Fox and Hen Together (Stories Without Words)
Fox and Hen Together
by Beatrice Rodriguez
Enchanted Lion Books, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

The surprise in Chicken Thief (a PW Best Book of 2010), the first book in this trilogy (watch for Rooster's Revenge in September), is that when the fox steals the chicken, the outcome is happily ever after and not chicken feathers at the corners of fox's mouth. In this book, Chicken leaves Fox in charge of her egg while she goes out to catch a fish for dinner. The adventure that ensues for Chicken takes up the rest of the book, except for the part at the end where there's a surprise with that egg.

I'm not telling. Sorry. You'll have to read it for yourself.

Why I love this series:
1. It's more than just the Fox and the Chicken, it's a whole series of wordless books that Enchanted Lion is doing called Stories Without Words. (see also my review of ICE by Arthur Geisert)
2. The size and shape of the books -- they are different from other books -- long and skinny.
3. Wordless picture books are "just right" books for EVERY reader in my classroom.

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21. Wordless (or nearly so)

The Giant Seed
by Arthur Geisert
Enchanted Lion Books, June 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

I am a huge fan of wordless picture books, and Arthur Geisert is a master of the form.

This followup to Ice (reviewed here) is a story of survival, collaboration and dandelion seeds. Yes, dandelions. It seems like the perfect season to look at those plants we think of as pests with wonder and admiration as we imagine the small worlds that would be saved by those magical floaty seeds...

Little Bird
by Germano Zullo
illustrated by Albertine
translated from the French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick
Enchanted Lion Books, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

It's high time we here in the U.S. started paying better attention to books published internationally.

Take for instance, Little Bird, winner of the 2011 Prix Sorcières for illustration (the French Caldecott). Yes, the book is visually stunning. It's clear why it won an award for illustrations.

But it's a great story, too. About the small things in life. About keeping your eyes open for the little ways that make every day different, unique, and a day to be treasured.

This is not quite a wordless book. The words stay tucked down at the bottom of the page in the white margin around the illustration. The words are like a quiet commentary that complement the cinematic pictures. This is one I'd love to read to kids of many ages to see how their reactions differ.

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22. The Hero of Little Street

by Gregory Rogers   Allen & Unwin, Austrailia 2009 Roaring Brook, US 2012 The Boy, who previously met the Bard and the Bear and battled a Midsummer Knight, takes "readers" on another adventure, this time through the world of Vermeer. The Boy, out titular hero, is kicking around when a soccer ball appears. One swift kick and the ball lands in a fountain, and the bully boys who were previously

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23. Who Will Save My Planet by Maria Cristina Urrutia

I picked up WHO WILL SAVE MY PLANET by Maria Cristina Urrutia at Cover to Cover. It is a wordless book and the story it tells is a serious one. This is a small book filled with photos of our world.   The photographer uses two page spreads to show us the depth of the problems--how the Earth has become ruined. In each two page spread, Urrutia shows two intense photos. One shows the problem--a forest of trees chopped down, an animal in a cage, etc. The other side of each spread shows a connected picture--showing how things should be if we take care of things.  There is not one word in this book but the photographs tell a powerful story of where we are in taking care of our world.

I picked this up for many reasons--I am always looking for wordless books because I think they are great to begin talk around ideas.  I also thought this would be a great conversation starter around visual literacy, how to read images, etc.  This book has lots of possibilities.

4 Comments on Who Will Save My Planet by Maria Cristina Urrutia, last added: 5/9/2012
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24. Flood - a review

Villa, Alvaro F. 2013. Flood. North Mankato, MN: Capstone. 

(Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley)

If you read my blog regularly or read my monthly posts on the ALSC Blog, you'll know that my family was one of the tens of thousands affected by Hurricane Sandy.  It is for that reason, that I requested a copy of Flood for review.  I now have first-hand knowledge of the devastation caused by a hurricane, but more importantly in my area of the Jersey Shore, by flooding; I feel that I have a certain sad connection with the topic.  While I say that, I am also mindful of the fact that though thousands may be affected by the same natural disaster, no two personal disasters are the same.  There is a commonality, but yet, each town, each neighborhood, each family, each individual, must deal with a different set of difficulties.  Because of this, I approached Flood with trepidation and apprehension.  It was obviously not written in response to Superstorm Sandy, but nevertheless, it arrives at a time when people are particularly vulnerable.  To date, more than half a million disaster assistance claims have been filed with FEMA, with much of the damage caused by flooding.

Forgive me if I reveal the entire story, but this one I must follow through to the end.

Alvaro F. Villa's Flood appears to be the story of a flood more typical to the Midwest than along the nation's coastlines. In this wordless picture book, a family's modest home stands alone in the middle of a beautiful, grassy, rolling countryside, a river flowing behind. Two children and a dog play alongside a weathered picket fence.  Only the lone dark bird flying overhead hints at danger to come.  In the evening, the family spends a relaxing evening indoors.  Dawn brings the first hint of trouble as bad weather moves in.  The next days are spent in anxious discussion, preparation, and finally, evacuation. A violent and raging storm arrives, the river rises, wreaking destruction on the idyllic landscape.  In an eerie depiction of the storm's aftermath, the lone bird now sits upon the stump of a broken tree - looming large and black against the reddish hues of the dawning sky and the browns of the sandbags and silt left in the yard.  The family's muddied SUV returns.  From a distance the house can be seen, damaged but still standing.  The hopelessness of the family, the agonized tears of the young daughter are palpable as they survey the wreckage.  But of course, that is not the end.  It can never be.  No matter one's sense of hopelessness, helplessness - a start must be made. There is no other choice.  And so the rebuilding begins.  As the family paints and replants, the palette brightens and smiles return. The house, in its new coat of paint looks better than ever. It's not the same.  It will never be.  But the family is together and they have survived.

I passed this book along to my husband and children.  Of course, they are not librarians or book reviewers or educators. I asked them only because the experience is fresh in their minds.  My daughter had a keen observation.  There is a scene in which the family is spending the night in another location, having evacuated their home; the children are shown sleeping on the floor (as so many children, including mine, have recently done for days, weeks and months on end) while the parents and dog huddle in bed watching the television, presumably for news about the flood.  In a powerful use of symbolism, Villa shows their calm refuge surrounded by dark and raging flood waters - a powerful reminder of what is occurring elsewhere; but as my daughter pointed out, also easily misinterpreted by young readers who may be frightened by the water that appears to be menacingly approaching their makeshift beds.  Although beautiful and moving, and ultimately uplifting, this is not a picture book for preschoolers.  Appropriately, the publisher suggests Flood for Grades 1-3.

Is Flood  hopeful? Cautionary? Bibliotherapeutic? Empathetic? Preparatory?  I suspect Alviro F. Villa intended to offer hope.  I also suspect that much depends upon who reads it and when. 

Due on shelves February 1, 2013. 

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25. New Wordless Picture Book: FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO

I love to add new wordless books to my collection so I was very excited to get this new book Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle  in the mail from Chronicle Books.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! It is a very sweet story of friendship and the expressions on the little girl's face make me happy. But there is an added feature to this book--there are flaps to lift throughout the book!   (Molly is a new author for me so I am excited to check out more of her books!

Here are two videos that give a good sneak peek but if you love wordless picture books, you'll definitely want this one! (This comes out next week:-)

2 Comments on New Wordless Picture Book: FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO, last added: 1/30/2013
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