Speechless: Part II
When I heard Lynne was writing a post about wordless picture books, I knew I had to write a piggy-back post. I fell in love with wordless picture books when my girls were old enough to handle books but a long way from being able to memorize and recite them. While board books and picture books can always be read imagistically, it appealed to me to have books around that didn’t rely on language at all to tell the story. I love Lynne’s observation that the ‘story’ which emerges from the images is always a little bit different — and as a bonus, as kiddos develop greater facility with language, they can become equal partners in the storytelling well before they are capable of reading.
Like Lynne, I adore South by Patrick McDonnell — such a tender and moving tale of an unlikely friendship as a cat tries to help a little lost bird find his flock. We have also become big fans of Suzy Lee, especially her books Shadow, which brings to life what a little girl imagines as she surveys the shadows in the garage before dinner, and Wave, which depicts an overconfident girl splashing in the surf and finding out a little something about the ocean’s power.
More recently, I was introduced to Journey by Aaron Becker at the children’s literature book talk I attended at our local bookstore. My kiddos were lucky to receive this one for Christmas and have loved poring over the sweeping illustrations, which follow a bored girl with a red crayon as she draws a door and steps into both adventure and danger. As Becker’s debut children’s book, Journey is both a staggering accomplishment and a likely harbinger of more exquisite books to come. Also new to our bookshelves — from my amazing cousin and her husband, who are elementary school teachers with the most expertly curated home library of children’s books I will ever see in my lifetime — is a delightful book I had never heard of before called Welcome to Mamoko by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. While there is an opening spread which introduces the setting and the characters with brief bios, the large-format pages that follow are purely visual, and it’s the readers job to follow each of the characters spread by spread to figure out what happened over the course of their day. As the cover suggests, there’s a little bit of a Where’s Waldo quality to this book as you have to first locate the various characters in the expansive and busy illustrations, but it offers far greater rewards than a simple seek-and-find as you watch the characters’ day unfold and discover intertwined storylines along the way. It is a remarkably fun book that has already kept us entertained for hours — and we’ve only followed a handful of the characters so far.
Like Lynne, I am always eager for more suggestions in this neat little world of wordless picture books. This post by Carter Higgins over at Design Mom offers some other recommendations (with even more mentioned in the comments). Please do share your favorites, too! I have my pen poised and my library card in hand…