The Books Without Words

cover of journeyReading a story with your child can be pure magic. Creating the voices of the characters, infusing them with emotion, observing your young ones recognizing letters and words on the pages, are all parts of the experience. Given all that, why would anyone choose a picture book without words?

Wordless picture books offer a fabulous opportunity to explore the artwork that is often overlooked. Without the need to be concerned with the amount or complexity of a book’s text, readers of all ages and ability are able to pick up any wordless picture book and enjoy. These books also encourage a truly interactive experience; parents can ask probing questions as the pages are turned and really engage children. Explore all the details in the images, discuss what might come next, talk about the emotions characters might be feeling based on the expressions on their faces.

The Library offers a variety of wordless picture books. Below are some favourites and a great place to start.

Aaron Becker’s award-winning Journey is the first in a trilogy. The illustrations start off as dull and muted tones of brown and grey, with tiny pops of bold red that draw the reader’s eye deeper into the story. A lonely little girl uses her bright red marker to create an extraordinary, exciting world of adventure. Becker uses colour in an exceptional way, and successfully designs a world full of magic, complete with a villain, a heroine, and a new friendship. Be sure to follow up with Quest, and Return, the other two parts of the trilogy.

A delightful little book with thick pages and surprise die-cuts throughout, Inside Outside chronicles a little boy’s adventures inside the house, and (you guessed it!) outside in the yard. The pages are absolutely packed with fun, tiny details. Have your little one search each page for the different animals and insects, sometimes hidden in unexpected places. Author Lizi Boyd has created a truly sweet, happy wordless picture book perfect for cuddling up and exploring together on a rainy day.

flotsam coverRaymond Briggs’ award winner The Snowman is a beautiful classic. Told in gentle tones and many small images, The Snowman is the story of a little boy who creates a Snowman. The relationship they form and adventures they have together is what really makes the story so touching. Spring may be on its way, but this snowy tale is worth exploring right now!

Chris Raschka’s boldly unique artwork is instantly recognizable in A Ball For Daisy. This book is deceptively simple. Little dog Daisy has a red ball she adores. She loves her ball, and wants it near her always. What happens when you lose something you’re so very attached to? There likely isn’t a child in existence that hasn’t felt the frustration and disappointment of losing something they love. Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending!

David Wiesner might be the king of the wordless picture book. Quirky, funny, and full of details to examine, you can’t go wrong with one of Wiesner’s books. Flotsam is perfect for the information loving little reader. The main character comes to the beach prepared, complete with shovels and buckets, binoculars, and even a microscope! Tiny details, big adventures, and beautiful illustrations make Flotsam a wonderful choice.

Wordless picture books are a great chance for you to really dive in and explore a story with your child. Once you’ve worked your way through this list, stop by any of our branches and we’ll be happy to help guide you to even more wonderful tales without text!

Jana O’Flaherty – www.tbpl.caIf you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!

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