Flotsam

Image Credit: Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin), David Wiesner

Image Credit: Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin), David Wiesner

I’ve mentioned earlier how much I love a bold line and simple images that “pop.” Well, I also love DETAILED illustrations. David Wiesner is a master at storytelling through skilled detail. I love his book Flotsam and it’s very easy to see why this book won the 2007 Caldecott Medal.

Image Credit: Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin), David Wiesner

Image Credit: Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin), David Wiesner

This book is wordless. The lack of words encourage imagination and the illustrations have so much packed into them that you can come up with various interpretations of what’s happening. Keep staring at the gorgeous watercolor illustrations and you will find something new each time.

In Flotsam, a curious boy enjoys a day at the beach when suddenly, a huge wave knocks him over and washes up an old underwater camera. Inside he finds a roll of film, gets it developed and what he discovers is pretty amazing; a mechanical fish, a hot-air-ballon-puffin fish and more! Has he discovered the secrets of the ocean?? Each photo is even more fantastic than the first. Perhaps the coolest discovery is a portrait of every child that’s found the camera taking a photo with the portrait photo found before. I love this aspect of the book because we see children from all over the world and throughout time, who, like the young man in the story, discovered the wonders inside the camera. If you have a child with a vivid imagination, they will enjoy this book because it encourages fantasy and creativity.

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Creative Thinking, Storytelling, Discussion, Diversity, Cultural Diversity
Book Info: Flotsam by David Wiesner, 2006 Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin), ISBN: 9780618194575

So Much

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Trish Cooke/Helen Oxenbury

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Trish Cooke/Helen Oxenbury

My mother found this book for me at a thrift store and I’m so grateful she did! Trish Cooke is Afro-Caribbean from the UK and not only does the book show a loving family of color but she uses Afro-Caribbean English to write the story. I also really like her book Full, Full, Full of Love. The beginning of So Much has a nice rhythm that’s great for little ones to follow. Another thing I love about this book is that it’s illustrated by the great Helen Oxenbury.  Oxenbury and Cooke create a lovable story about a little baby and his family that loves him SO MUCH.

So Much begin with the baby sitting with his mom, simply enjoying the day, then the doorbell rings and another member of the family arrives. Each time someone new comes, they say they want to squeeze the baby, kiss the baby, so much! The father comes home tired from work to a house full of love.  There are some negative reviews online for this book’s “bad grammar.” I don’t think those reviewers took the time to research the author’s background or simply didn’t care. I love the addition of Afro-Caribbean English because 1). It is different and 2). Cooke is sharing her culture with her readers.

Oxenbury’s gouache illustrations are lovely; her paintings depict movement and joy and love. I especially love the pages where the family is crowded together, dancing and having a good time because it reminds me of my family. I also love how 90s the illustrations are; there are lots of sneakers, baggy shirts, caps and funky prints (This book was first printed in 1994!). In the author/illustrator notes at the back of the book, Oxenbury says that this book was the first time she had to illustrate only humans (none of her signature animals at all) and that it was a challenge. I think she did an excellent job and if you look closely, the baby’s teddy bear has great expressions! I think you will enjoy this book so much!

Recommended for: Toddlers and up
Great for: Family, Diversity, Cultural Diversity,
Book Info: So Much by Trish Cooke/Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, 1997 Candlewick Press, ISBN: 9780763602963
*Note– This book is possibly out of print. If you can’t find it at a bookstore, check at your local library, used bookstores and online.