New and Noteworthy Wordless Books Roundup 2021
Happy New Year!
We are dedicated to bringing the best and brightest picture books to our shelves. In January, we're offering our usual feature of wordless picture books from the previous year. One of the things I love about wordless books, and talking about them with kids (and adults too), is how differently they might be interpreted. Thus my annotations below may not be all that reliable. You'll just have to borrow each for yourself to see if you think I'm right!
Every Little Kindness by Marta Bartolj (ages 7-10)
A young woman is putting up posters for her lost dog and spies a busker in the park. Having no money, she gives him her apple. Another man notices her selfless act and with a smile, is inspired to pick up after a litterbug. This is witnessed by a small boy who then sees a young girl lose her grip on a helium balloon. He is moved to buy her a new one. And so the forward paying continues. Now that's my kind of contagion!
The Farmer and the Circus by Marla Frazee (ages 4-8)
If you've ever missed someone dearly, this follow-up and finale to Frazee's trilogy (The Farmer and the Clown, The Farmer and the Monkey) will strike a chord. Roles are reversed and now it is the monkey and the clown who play hosts to the visiting farmer when he pays them a surprise visit at the circus and takes part in circus life.
Grand Isle by Kate Samworth (ages 6-9)
What promises to be a fun relaxing day at the beach quickly turns strange and unnerving when a gigantic concave leaf washes ashore. It serves as a boat, taking two children to a mysterious island where everything is scaled up, and even a newly hatched chick towers over them. The chick is helpless and needs assistance, but when the chick's mother arrives, the human children understand instinctively that they need to go (and I don't mean to the bathroom)!
Grasshopper by Tatiana Ukhova (ages 4-7)
A young girl's fascination with tiny creatures innocently wreaks havoc to their delicate existences. Eventually, she comes to understand the contrary effects her well-meaning actions have on them. She contents herself with watching and otherwise leaving them to live their lives in the discrete worlds they are suited to.
Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson and Qin Leng (ages 3-7)
An old shopkeeper needs to rent a somewhat dilapidated apartment above the shop but isn't having much luck finding takers. The one couple that does show interest is met with disapproval. No reason is given, but the possibilities occurring to the reader might not reflect well on the shopkeeper. Luckily, a granddaughter, who has been looking after a mangy stray cat outside, intervenes and changes the old curmudgeon's mind. The couple moves in and slowly transforms the place.
Sonata for Fish and Boy by Milan Pavlović (ages 3-7)
A lone musician draws a bow across a stringed instrument on a park bench, attracting a fish from a nearby pond. Soon fish and musician are flying through the air. Having left the instrument behind, they are carried along, buoyed only by a strange melody into the atmosphere and beyond. Returning to this world (or perhaps another), they find a small hut in which a number of other animals are jamming. The amazing power of music is celebrated in this story, divided into differently paced sections much like a sonata.
Posted by Pat, Children's Selection Team.