Images create stories that touch our hearts of readers from all ages in these wordless books. Are we called readers if there aren’t any words? No words are needed to convey character, setting, and story, as the illustrations take on the starring role.
“The Farmer and the Clown” by Marla Frezee, 2014, Beach Lane Books, ages 4 and up.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the beautiful color illustrations and lack of words. This touching story will evoke feelings of delight and sadness as a lonely farmer and a lost circus clown befriend each other. One comes to wonder who is helped the most by this special friendship.
“Hunters of the Great Forest” by Dennis Nolan, 2014, Roaring Brook Press, ages 4 and up.
Little creatures face big challenges in this wordless adventure. A fearless band of travelers explore a world where toadstools serve as giant trees, and a bird and squirrel are enormous creatures. The explorers discover a wonderful treasure to carry home as a prize for their bravery. Through their actions, cartoon-like characters depict the range of emotions these little people feel in a world full of giants.
“The Boy and the Airplane” by Mark Pett, Simon & Schuster, 2013, all ages.
A young boy’s joy at his new toy airplane turns to sorrow when the airplane ends up on the roof. His creative solution to retrieving his plane provides a lesson on patience for all readers. The simple, yet compelling pencil and watercolor sketch illustrations are done in muted tones, with airplane standing out in red. Mark Pett is an “authorstrator”, creating stories through images. His other work includes the syndicated comic strips “Mrs. Lowe” and “Cow”.
“Bluebird” by Bob Staake, Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013, Ages 4 and up.
Making new friends can be difficult, but when a young boy is befriended by a blue bird, he feels less alone. Their friendship is soon to be tested, and this touching story will cause readers to also question their own friendship resolve. The bright bluebird stands out amidst the black, gray, and white illustrations, leading the reader through many city and park scenes as the main character traverses feelings of loneliness, rejection, acceptance, intimidation, sadness, and peace. Bob Staake’s work as a commercial illustrator can be found in the “New Yorker”, the “Washington Post”, and the “New York Times”.
“Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad” by Henry Cole, Scholastic, 2012, 6-10 years.
Bravery and compassion emulate from this wordless story about a family hiding an escaped slave along the Underground Railroad. The youngest family member is taken into the family secret as she helps to provide food and shelter for their guest. Detailed pencil sketches fill the pages and show the emotions and danger that fill this historical narrative. The author, Henry Cole, grew up in Virginia amidst stories of the Civil War and Underground Railroad and is inspired by the spirit of the people from this time.