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.