This module covered Caldecott award winners, books that have outstanding illustrations. I found that I was drawn (pun intended) to the art of the newer winners. The two that stood out to me were Flotsam and The Lion and the Mouse.
A boy finds an old water proof camera on the beach. When he gets the pictures developed, he discovers a magical underwater world of sea creatures. He also notices that previous kids have been taking their picture with the camera as well, so he holds up the photograph within a photograph within a photograph… and adds his picture. He then throws the camera back into the sea for the process to repeat.
The art in this book is wonderful, crisp, and bright. Since the book has no written story, the images take over and lead the reader to a wonderful, magical place. I appreciated the whimsy and nostalgia the book evoked. The book reminded me of how I would tie messages to balloons and hope someone would find them. It made me want to go through old photographs. I think a child would greatly appreciate the illustrations and be inspired by this book.
Flotsam was the prime example in an article in School Library Journal about wordless books.
“They enrich the aesthetic lives and literacy skills of “mainstream” or “gifted” children as well, since they require visual decoding, original thinking, language production, an understanding of multiple viewpoints, and the interpretation of meaning. Since there is no single or correct story, the reader’s task is to slow down and look carefully, applying everything they know about narrative to the process of “reading” the pictures. In the hands of an inspired illustrator, this is an exhilarating and deeply satisfying experience,” (Lukehart 2011).
I agree that reading pictures can greatly help a child become better at interpreting meaning. While it is not accomplishing the same function as written text, wordless books still contribute to a child’s learning.
This would be a good book to suggest to a shy preschooler or toddler. The parent can ask the child to explain what is going on in the pictures and they can make up a more detailed story together. This will help them come out of their shell and use their imagination.
The Lion & the Mouse
This book is based on the Aesop’s fable in which a lion spares a mouse from becoming dinner and in return the mouse helps free the lion from a hunter’s trap.
The art in the book is takes up the whole page and is done in beautiful watercolor. Like Flotsam, it has very little text. The sounds of the animals are written out in a very artistic manner, but no story is spelled out in text. This book got across the classic folktale in pictures very effectively.
“This use of panels gives the already near silent book a kind of silent movie feel. Like a graphic novel, The Lion and the Mouse finds use for panels, white space, timing and inserts of dialogue, such as it is. It is able to use the best of both the comic world and the picture book world. One minute you’re limited to panels. The next you turn the page and here’s a double spread, full-color, lush and gorgeous. Pinkney has expanded his medium with this book and the payoff is evident,” (Bird 2009).
I also felt the graphic novel element and quite enjoyed the format.
This book could be a part of a folk tale camp in a library(maybe for summer reading). Kids could come and play games, read picture books, and put on plays of the fables and folk tales.
Bird, E. (20 July 2009). Review of the Day: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. School Library Journal Online. Retrieved from http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/afuse8production/2009/07/20/review-of-the-day-the-lion-and-the-mouse-by-jerry-pinkney/
Lukehart, W. (April 2011). Wordless Books: Picture Perfect. School Library Journal Online. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/printissuecurrentissue/889480-427/wordless_books_picture_perfect.html.csp
Pinkney, J. (2009). The Lion & the Mouse. New York: Brown Books for Young Readers.
Wiesner, D. (2006). Flotsam. New York: Clarion Books.