Literary Genre:  Wordless and Near Wordless

Aruego,  Jose and Ariane Dewey.  WE HIDE, YOU SEEK.  Illus by authors. 
    Greenwillow, 1979.   hb.   PreS-Gr. 1   E Pic

    Now found also in board book format, this almost wordless book shows animals from the African grasslands playing hide and seek.  While a small red rhino-like animal closes his eyes, the other animals hide and viewers look for them as they are camouflaged on the savannah.  When it is the turn of the red animal to hide, he does so with a humorous twist.  The illustrations are perfect in picture book format.  Only the paperback version is available in reprint (Harper, 1988).
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Dornbusch, Erica.  FINDING KATE’S SHOES.  Toronto & New York: Annick, 2001. 30p.  
1-55037-671-3; hb.  1-55037-670-5; pb., $6.95       PreS-Gr.3   E

    The pencil crayon illustrations in this wordless picture book contain a pair of hidden red tennis shoes.  The shoes are easy enough to find which is lucky because there is no key to their location anywhere in the book.  Children need to read the instructions on the first page to learn how to search for them in “imaginary” landscapes.  Without reading this page, readers will look in vain for the shoes in the girl’s real house.  Anyone who has lost shoes, or any other items, can identify with the search for the shoes.  The illustrations are colorful.  Add this to school and library collections of wordless picture books.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Geisert, Arthur.  OOPS.  Illus. by Arthur Geisert.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.  
    32p.   ISBN 978-0-618-609048, 0-618-60904-0; hb., 
$16.00  Gr. K-3  EP (Easy Picture Book)

    In this story without words, a chain reaction and sequence of events leads to disaster, but not a total loss for the pig family.  The author/illustrator shows, through his minutely detailed illustrations, what happens when a little spilled milk can lead to catastrophe.  This story can be a tool to teach reading comprehension without words and how to pay close attention to detail to “see” how a story’s events unfold.  You can tell a lot of time and thought went into this book’s creation. 
   
Young children will be intrigued by the use of the cleverly designed hill house with intricately done landscaping. This is a good read-and-discuss story. When disaster strikes the pig family, the reader experiences the destruction of their home, but also sees how grateful and happy they are no one is hurt. You can feel this book; and even without the words, it is a “good read.”  
    
Jana Aho, Gladstone School and Public Library, Gladstone, MI

Geisert, Arthur.  HOGWASH. Illus. by author.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Company,
          2008.  32p.  ISBN: 978-0-618-77332-9 hb. $16.00.   Gr. PreS – 1   E PIC

          The HOGWASH story is told with colorful pictures only; no words. Countless piglets traipse through complicated Rube-Goldberg cleaning contraptions in order to emerge freshly scrubbed at the end of the book.
In great graphic detail, a procession of pigs travel through water troughs, into ponds, into reservoirs, all herded by mother pigs with brooms. Eventually they all return to their homes clean and smiling. Lots of artistic detail should intrigue the young reader and, perhap,s stimulate their own bathtub innovations.
          Judy Bennett, Clerk, Ironwood Carnegie Library, Ironwood, MI

Horenstein, Henry.  A IS FOR...?   A PHOTOGRAPHER'S ALPHABET OF ANIMALS.
    Illus. with photos.    San Diego: Gulliver/Harcourt, 1999.  unp.  0-15-201582-5; hb.,   $16.00
    98-31424   Gr. K-3+    590   or   E      PAULIN'S PICKS citation

        In a photographer's note at the end of the book, Horenstein explains that he shot 200 rolls of film or 7,000 pictures from which he selected the 56 pictures in this book.  "The images I was looking for had to be mysterious enough so you'd have to guess what animal was represented, and they had to be interesting enough so you'd want to take the time to guess."  Horenstein succeeded spectacularly.  Brown and white photos shows part of each animal with a capital letter.  This reader missed P for parrot (I thought it was a pigeon) U for urchin,  X for ox, and Y for yellow jacket but was proud to guess iguana, jellyfish, kudu, newt, ray, and tortoise.  Easier ones to guess are quail, vulture, ostrich, shark, and whale.  Fortunately there is an answer key at the end of the book with the a more descriptive picture and the name of the creature.  This picture book works as an alphabet book and also enriches animal studies.  This is a truly interactive book that will appeal to all ages.   No school or public library will want to miss this one.  The Caldecott committee needs to look at this one.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI;

Lehman, Barbara.  THE RED BOOK.  Illus. by author.  Boston, MA:  Houghton Mifflin Co., 
    2004.  32p.  ISBN 0-619-42959-5 hb. $12.95   Gr. K-3   EP

    We all dream of faraway places.  If you picked up a book where could it take you?  The magic of this story takes a young girl on a journey to a fantasy place to meet a new friend.  Each page is full of surprises.  The pictures are captivating and easily tell the story without words.  Children and adults of all ages will enjoy the magic found in the art work.  Lehman was awarded a 2005 Caldecott Honor Medal for outstanding illustrations.
    
Debra Ely, Children’s Librarian, Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library

Milich, Zoran.  CITY SIGNS.  Photos by Milicih.  Tonawanda, NY:  Kids Can, 2002.
    32p.  1-55337-003-1; hb., $15.95  C2001-902830-X   PreS-Gr. 3    659.13

    This wordless picture book includes photos of signs on vehicles, signposts, buildings, and shirts.  The last photo is of a stop sign.  Children and adults can make up stories or information about a railroad crossing sign, a school bus, a fire station, trash cans, and cars entering and exiting a parking building.  The photos are clear and colorful.  Consider this book for your wordless collection.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Roberts, Michael.  THE JUNGLE.  Illus by author.  New York:  Callaway/Hyperion,
     1998.   65p.  0-7868-0398-3; hb., $19.95     Gr. 2+    97-33404     428.1  or   E

     Roberts uses collages of cut colored paper against plain or corrugated paper backgrouonds to create this handsome book.  Even the end papers are part of the design.  Each letter of the alphabet is a cutout of black and tan on a black background.  Facing that page is an animal, person, or vegetation from Africa.  There is no text to the book but the answers are woven into the design of the last pages.  This is not an alphabet book for preschoolers but rather a book for intermediate students to use when studying Africa and for Art teachers to share with students of all ages.  
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
 
 Sis, Peter.  DINOSAUR!  Illus. by P. Sis.  New York: Greenwillow, 2000.  32p.
    0-688-17049-8; hb., $14.95    99-32923     PreS-Gr.2     E     PAULIN'S PICKS

     The simplicity of this book is part of the total charm.  The black line drawings and shades of green and brown bring the book to life.  When a little boy takes a bath with his toy dinosaur, other dinosaurs join them.  The triple fold has many dinosaurs painted in greater detail and shows the boy dwarfed in a pond with his toy.  The fantasy ends when mom runs toward him with a towel just as the tail of the last dinosaur disappears.  The end papers finish the book and share a dozen dinosaurs and their names with readers.  This picture book, which captures the imagination of children,  is  worthy of Caldecott notice.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
  
Van Ommen, Sylvia.  THE SURPRISE.  Illus. by author.  Asheville, NC: Front Street, 2007.  
Originally published in the Netherlands in 2003.  ISBN 1932425853 hb. $15.95.  Gr. K-2    E PIC       

            The ever popular wordless book is the ideal way to convey a message of friendship in THE SURPRISE.  By the third illustration, where Sheep is measuring the length of her wool with a ruler, readers can guess that she is planning to put it good use.  That use is not revealed until the end of the story.  Until then, follow Sheep through the shaving, dyeing, spinning, and knitting steps necessary for making a garment.  This story is similar to Tomie DePaola’s CHARLIE NEEDS A CLOAK, as they were both sweet stories with practical information folded in. The target audience is early elementary students between the ages of 5 and 10.
           
Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Wiesner, David.  SECTOR 7.  Illus. by author.  New York:  Clarion, 1999.
    32p.   0-396-74656-6 hb; $16.00.    96-40343      Gr. 2+     E

     Wiesner draws on the reader's intellectual energy to interpret the story he has created through bordered watercolor illustrations.  In this story a class is taking a field trip to New York City's Empire State Building.  The hero of this story is whisked away to Sector 7 by a cloud he sees at the top of the building.  The reader learns that Sector 7 is home base for clouds who receive their instructions and assignments.  In every illustration emotions are clearly revealed by the facial expressions and features of the human and cloud characters.  Children will return to this imaginative and challenging story to discover new details and possible interpretations.  This book was awarded the 2000 Caldecott Honor Medal.
    Sandra Imdieke, Professor, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
*  Editor's Note: Imdieke was a member of the 2000 Caldecott Committee, ALSC/ALA

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