I picked up three new wordless picture books to share with you this week. We enjoyed all three. I hope that you find a few of these interesting!
Birdsong by James Sturm
Blurb: Bring the thrilling story of one red bird to life. When an innocent bird meets two cruel kids, their world is forever changed. But exactly how that change unfolds is up to you, in the tradition of Kamishibai—Japanese paper theater. The wordless story by master cartoonist James Sturm is like a haiku—the elegant images leave space for children to inhabit this timeless tale—and make it their own, leading them to learn an ultimate lesson they’ll never forget.
James Sturm is the author of several books for kids including the Adventures in Cartooning series (with Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost) and the forthcoming Ape and Armadillo. James also helped start a college for cartoonists, The Center for Cartoon Studies, in the small railroad village of White River Junction, Vermont.
- Age Range: 5 and up
- Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
- Series: Toon Books
- Hardcover: 60 pages
- Publisher: TOON Books (April 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1935179942
- ISBN-13: 978-1935179948
When we first started reading this book we were shocked. It begins with two children abusing some wildlife and it’s uncertain where the story is going to go. As they chase a bird far away, they are met by an angry man who wants to teach them a lesson they will never forget. The message is powerful and children will understand that there are consequences to their actions. This is a wordless picture book that can have many endings and children will have to think about what the actual conclusion means.
What I loved most about the book was the history in the back. Readers learn about e-toki which means “picture-explaining” and kamishibai which means “paper theater.” Children learn about the importance of these picture stories from Japan and why they were started in the first place. This is a powerful picture book with detailed, yet simple illustrations that kids will certainly enjoy.
Sidewalk Circus by Paul Fleischman & Kevin Hawkes
Blurb: “This delightful book will fascinate children and help them to see their world with new eyes.” — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Step right up and witness an astounding assemblage of tightrope walkers, strong men, sword swallowers, and clowns. The Garibaldi Circus is coming soon, but for those with clear eyes, the performers may already be in the ring. So get ready to sharpen your vision and look very closely — a show like you’ve never seen is about to begin! The creators of WESLANDIA are back in the spotlight with a spectacular, wordless picture book that shows the transformative power of imagination.
- Age Range: 5 – 9 years
- Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (May 8, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 076362795X
- ISBN-13: 978-0763627959
This picture story begins in the city streets with regular everyday people going about their day while observing others around them. The Garibaldi Circus will soon be coming to the city, but what’s really happening in the shadows might be more interesting than you think. Children will notice that our ordinary lives are more interesting than we think and all we need to do is pay attention to what’s happening around us.
We enjoyed the book and ended up starting it over twice. You really have to pay attention to the shadows to see what’s going on. It’s a really unique book and we loved the illustrations.
The Adventure of Polo by Régis Faller
Blurb: Equipped with a backpack full of supplies, Polo sets off on a little boat–and on a series of delightful adventures that take him across (and under) the ocean, to an island and a frozen iceberg, to space and home again, with a world of magical encounters along the way. Polo’s journey is packed with incident and expression; 80 pages of seamless, satisfying picture storytelling are perfectly targeted to the youngest reader. Unique, dynamic, and playful, The Adventures of Polo calls to mind the worlds of film animation, comics, and classic books from Harold and the Purple Crayon to The Snowman–and has style, appeal, and substance all its very own.
- Age Range: 4 – 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool – 3
- Series: The Adventures of Polo
- Hardcover: 80 pages
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1St Edition edition (April 18, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596431601
- ISBN-13: 978-1596431607
Polo is a cute little pup who goes on some interesting adventures in the air, on the water, and even in space. As Polo visits a friend, the adventure has just begun and there’s no telling where his transportation will take him next. Follow along with Polo the inquisitive pup to see where his adventure takes him.
This turned out to be different than what we expected. It’s a wordless picture book, but has a graphic novel feel to it and it’s considerably longer than most of the other wordless books we’ve read. The illustrations are very vivid and detailed which keeps you engaged. It’s exciting wondering where Polo will go next and we enjoyed it.
Why I love Wordless Picture Books:
It’s no secret that I LOVE wordless picture books. Here are some reasons why…
- They can promote more discussion than books with words do.
- For early readers, it allows them to read books on their own while retelling the story and developing new vocabulary.
- They help children with story structure and comprehension.
- They can inspire children and help develop writing skills when they write the story out on paper as to how they interpreted it.
There are so many wonderful reasons to read wordless picture books. Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and visually appreciate these books. It can give early readers a break from reading words as well. See what you come up with and compare it to others. I’ve noticed that children can sometimes figure it out before the adults can! So much fun…
Thanks for reading Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books!