Bob Staake

Wordless Wednesday: Bluebird And Interview With Bob Staake!

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Welcome back to Wordless Wednesday, a fairly recent little series I am doing on the beautiful art of wordless books. If you missed my tips on how to read a wordless book, start there. But today I want to share a heartwarming, powerful, moving, thought-provoking book with you. It is a story of loneliness, friendship, bullies, restoration, and so many more things that it is shocking to believe they can be handled and wrapped up so beautifully in a 40 page picture book. I am also thrilled that the creator of the book took the time to answer my questions and I have that little interview too! Let’s look at Bluebird by Bob Staake, 2013. Read the full post…

Book Review: Goodnight Songs – A Celebration Of The Seasons By Margaret Wise Brown

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Although books about the seasons are lovely reading any time of year, there is something about the coming of autumn and all the changes it brings that feels even more appropriate for reading about the seasons. Fall is my favorite season, but I am always willing to ponder the things to love about every season. And luckily, we have a gorgeous new book out this August that provides not only stunning imagery, but includes beautiful songs originally written by Margaret Wise Brown.

This is the second collection of songs released, the first collection I am ashamed to say I have not seen and completely missed when it came out. I will be looking it up immediately as I am smitten by this second book. Allow me to share Goodnight Songs – A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by twelve award-winning picture book artists, 2015. Read the full post…

How To Read A Wordless Book

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Two years ago, while I was acting as a judge for the Cybils and reading even more books than normal in a given year, I noted the inordinate amount of wordless picture books that had come out in 2013. It even turned out to be the Caldecott year for wordless picture books as the 2014 honor awards went to three wordless picture books: Journey, Flora and the Flamingo, and Mr. Wuffles!. It was an unheard-of year for wordless picture books. I even frequently refer to 2013 as “The year of the wordless picture book.” Clever, no?

I’ve discussed wordless books occasionally, the most important for me being South by Patrick McDonnell; but I tend to avoid discussing them as they are intimidating as a reader, and especially as an illustrator. They can be lovely and they can also be frustrating. The tendency to just barrel through each page and not pause too long is even greater because there are no words to guide you. They can be delightful to savor by yourself, but groan-inducing when brought to you by a child with full expectation of you putting on a great ad lib read.

But, a well-executed wordless picture book has gone beyond creating lovely pictures and has buried a story so deep that words cannot express it. The illustrations must do double-duty. They must draw you in, yes with their actual drawn nature; but also with their ability to tell the story with every detail, every expression, every movement and page turn.

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The most tender scene impressed on my mind and heart from South by Patrick McDonnell.

I do not have what I would consider the ultimate grasp on how to read a wordless picture book, but I thought I would share a few pointers I have gleaned to help make them less intimidating and perhaps invite you to experience them more fully. I plan on sharing a wordless picture book review every Wednesday for a while, and so I hope this serves as an intro on how to approach all the amazing picture books that come out “quietly.” I took a ton of pictures from the cast of 2013 wordless picture books, so I am going to illustrate my reading tips using those books. Taking a cue from 6 of the stellar wordless books from 2013, here are my 5 tips to reading a wordless picture book: Read the full post…