Monday, September 6, 2010

Wordless Picture Books

Wordless picture books are a wonderful genre for you and your child to explore. Without words on the page, young children are able to tell YOU the story in their own words. Language and creativity are unleashed as a child relates the story that unfolds before them, often becoming more and more elaborate with each retelling. I've written before how I used to use wordless picture books in my family literacy classes. For parents for whom English wasn't their first language, it allowed them to tell a story in their own words to their children. For parents with low literacy skills, they were able to "read" the story to their child with a fluidity that wasn't always possible with regular picture books. I picked up three wordless picture books at the library last week that are definitely worth sharing.

The Adventures of Polo

Illustrated by: Regis Faller
Recommended Ages: 4-10

The Adventures of Polo is a magical book that transports you (and Polo) to many different worlds. Polo is a dog in a red jacket and purple pants who in the course of a day goes up into the clouds, down to the bottom of the sea, to an icecap where he rescues a trapped snowman and on and on. There's a lot on each page, so that each time you read it more details will crop up. I think that even the youngest child will enjoy Polo and the many encounters he comes across. If it's a hit in your house, there are five other Polo books available.

The Red Scarf

Illustrated by: Anne Villeneuve
Recommended Ages: 4-10

The Red Scarf does start off with the words: "Another gray day, says Turpin, the taxi driver," but after that it's all pictures. Turpin is a little white mole that drives a taxi. It seems to be an ordinary day until one of the passengers (a man in a black cape) leaves his red scarf behind. Turpin runs after him trying to return it, and from there the adventure begins. The trail leads to the circus and there are encounters with a frog on a unicycle, a bear on roller skates, a hungry lion and a mischievous monkey. Kids will love the scrapes that Turpin gets himself into, and will turn each page wondering what will happen next. It's a fun-filled romp that is sure to please young readers.


Illustrated by: Suzy Lee
Recommended Ages: 3-7

Wave is a quieter book than the previous two, but equally stunning. It shows a little girl at the beach as she runs back and forth where the waves break, as seagulls hover nearby. The wave soon becomes her friend and the two of them play with each other with a back and forth intensity that can only end in a big splash. It's playful and your senses are awakened so that you truly feel like you can smell the ocean and taste the salt.

So the next time you are at the library give a wordless picture book a try. You may be amazed at the story that comes out of your child's mouth as the pictures set free their imaginations.

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