I used to find wordless picture books so disconcerting. Where were the words? How was I supposed to know what to say?
Now, though, I love the chance to focus more on the illustrations and also let my child interpret the pictures for herself. It’s so fun to see her figure out the story based on the images, and it’s just a pleasure to see a different reader pick up something you had never noticed or interpret the story in a completely different way. It’s a perfect way for pre-readers to experience reader, or for older children to focus on the illustrations instead of the words for a change.
Here are a few to get you started (and if you have favorite ones, please leave your suggestions in the comments!):
- Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage. This sweet book about a walrus who escapes from the zoo and finds clever places to hide from the zookeeper is one of our family favorites. (You can watch a little video trailer for it too – my daughter and I have watched it dozens of times).
- Tuesday by David Wiesner. No one does wordless books like David Wiesner. This one shows what happens on a Tuesday night when frogs take flight. The very realistic illustrations are a fabulous juxtaposition to the goofy idea of frogs flying about on lily pads.
- The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. This one snagged the Caldecott gold a couple of years ago and the retelling of Aesop’s famous tale is stunning.
- Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman. Barbara Lehman is well-known for her wordless books, and this is a home-run one of a little boy spending a rainy day stuck inside. Until he finds a key. And that key opens up all sorts of possibilities for fun.
- Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day. I’ve loved this series my whole life, about a little boy and his dog who always manage to get into plenty of trouble while the mom isn’t watching.
- Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle. This one ups the wordless book ante by adding flaps on each page. The dancing flamingo and exuberant girl who wants to dance along will definitely make you smile.
- Red Sled by Lita Judge. This book isn’t TECHNICALLY wordless, but the only words it does have are the noises the animals make when they discover a sled left outside and decide to take it for a spin. It almost makes me wish winter was here.
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Janssen is a former librarian and avid reader who is always maxing out her library card. She now stays at home with her two-year-old daughter (with another girl on the way) and blogs about books for readers of all ages, her favorite recipes, and parenting adventures at Everyday Reading.
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