Sunday, June 9, 2013

Textless picture books or wordless books or stories without words

I bought home a collection of a dozen textless picture books this weekend.  I did this because I had the idea that these books might be used by teachers as they address the learning objectives of the new English Curriculum in the strand of speaking and listening.

One of my favourite wordless or textless picture books is The Tooth Fairy by Peter Collington.

On the opening pages we see a young girl has lost her tooth and as her mother comes in to kiss the girl goodnight she puts the tooth into a small box which they place under her pillow.  Meanwhile in a large tree nearby we see the magical tooth fairy open her door and fly away - not toward the house but through the forest to a secret trap door.  The intrepid fairy walks down an enormous underground staircase into a silver mine.  She hits at the mineral seam with a pick and then we see her smelting the ore, pouring it into a mold and eventually producing the coin that will later be given in exchange for the tooth.  The real magical pages come right at the end when we see the fairy transform the tooth into a single piano key.

There is so much to see and talk about in this wonderful book and the marvel is that not one word is printed on any of the pages yet this is a complex and immensely satisfying book.

Another older book in this category is The Gift by John Prater.  The opening pages show the classic idea that the box used a package a gift might be more fun than the gift itself - in this case two small chairs.  The children play with the box and then if you look closely you can see them wishing and in the next frame the box lifts off the ground and takes the brother and sister on a gentle adventure through the town, down the the seaside, under the ocean with the dolphins, meeting a whale and into the tropical jungle.   Finally the sister remembers the promise of delicious and so the box transports them home where we see the two children sitting on their new chairs enjoying drinks and cake.  The final frame, though, is a little disturbing and open to a good discussion and perhaps another story as we see dad put the box outside with the recycling - something the children appear to have missed seeing.

Other books I looked at for this project were :

  • The Chicken Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez
  • The Fishing Trip by Beatric Rodriguez
  • Free Fall by David Wiesner
  • Fly, little bird by Tina Burke
  • The secret box by Barbara Lehman
  • The Red book by Barbara Lehman
  • Sidewalk circus by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes
  • The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller
  • Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus
  • More by Peter Schossow
  • The flower man by Mark Ludy
  • Midsummer knight by Gregory Rogers

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