They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and these wordless books prove that sentiment. Wordless books allow the reader to use their own imagination to create a story. These are supposed to be for children, but I think these titles touch the child that still exists in all of us.
by Tomie dePaola
This charming book tells the travails of an elderly lady who attempts to make pancakes for breakfast. The lady's optimism paired with the sweet illustrations make this a gentle treasure that everyone is sure to love.
by Barbara Lehman
This is perhaps my favorite type of wordless book: the wordless journey. A young girl embarks on a journey through snowy streets and sandy shores where a new friend awaits. Charming illustrations paired with wanderlust — what could be better?
illustrated by David Wiesner
Another treasure from the incredibly talented David Wiesner. Awarded the Caldecott Honor for Illustration in 2000. This story is set in the observatory of the Empire State Building. A young boy on a field trip is befriended by a cloud and is whisked away to Sector 7, the depot for clouds. I am not going to tell you anything else — you just have to read this charmer to find out more.
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian
This book won the 1999 Caldecott Award as it should. This book is beautifully illustrated. Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley was a farmer born in 1865 in Jericho, Vermont (in the heart of the Vermont snowbelt). When he was 15 years old his mother gave him a microscope and he began to study snowflakes under the microscope. He was stunned by their beauty, uniqueness and delicacy. He spent the rest of his life studying and photographing snowflakes. This book is just terrific.
written and illustrated by David Wiesner
Another winner from David Wiesner. Frogs in a pond resting on their lily pads lift off, using their pads as a sort of botanical magic carpet. They zoom all over town, through a woman's living room, going back to their pond at sunrise. This multi-award winning book is a little bit science fiction, a little bit noir, and all in all a real treat.
by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman, illustrated by Robin Glasser
A little girl and her grandmother take a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There's one problem — the little girl can't take her yellow balloon into the museum. A kind guard ties the balloon to a railing and tells the little girl that he will watch it, but a pigeon ends up freeing the balloon and it takes off sailing all over New York City. The artwork the little girl views ties in with the escapades of the guard trying everything to save the little girl's balloon.
by Suzy Lee
Suzy Lee does an excellent job using charcoal and acrylics to emote a young girl's fear and surprise of ocean waves. This is a vibrant story, full of laughter and joy. Adults will just love this book too.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Leah Smith
Leah lives near Washington D.C. and is an obsessive list maker. She loves lists so much that she creates topical bibliographies -- for fun. She also collects volvelles, nutcrackers, unusual names and map hankies. She talks about books and many other things on her blog, Fig Newtons and Scotch.
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