Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New wordless books

Teachers at our school use wordless books for many learning objectives, particularly with students studying English as an additional language. 

Use wordless books to....
- practice sequencing words
- practice fluency in story telling
- write for various purposes
(switch points of view! add dialog! try out various "punchline" endings!)

In the comments, please share your ideas for using wordless books!

Tuba Lessons, by T. C. Bartlett
"Don't be late for your tuba lesson!' is all the text we need to get this wordless book off to a rollicking start. Along the way to the lesson, our little tuba player encounters all kinds of animal friends who sing their own tunes and end up making music together with him. Colored chalk illustrations add a childlike feel to this whimsical tale, a view into a child's imagination.

The Chicken Thief,  by Beatrice Rodriguez
When a fox steals a chicken, all the characters (and the reader!) assume he's up to no good. We chase him through various landscapes, gradually coming to understand that perhaps he is not planning to eat the chicken after all? Double spread panoramas draw us through the scenes and highlight the thrill of the chase. Watercolor and pen.

Chalk, by Bill Thompson
Children playing on a sunny day decide to draw with chalk on the blacktop, but imagine their surprise when their drawings come to life. Fine for a drawing of a butterfly, but what about a dinosaur? These paintings show stunning examples of perspective and are so realistic Thompson needs to include a note stating they are not photographs! Pure magic. 

Note: See this post about a school-wide event celebrating this book (via @alybee930's Kit Lit Frenzy)

More book talks at the Lemme Library blog. Happy Book Talk Tuesday!


  1. I’m a fan of THE CHICKEN THIEF. Did you know there's a sequel recently out? Thanks for this reminder to look for FOX AND HEN TOGETHER at my library. There’s even a third book coming out in the fall—ROOSTER’S REVENGE.

    I'm not familiar with the other two. Thanks for those suggestions.

  2. Thanks for these reviews. I'm always curious about wordless picture books but haven't read many. I love The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, though. And you have peaked my curiosity about Tuba Lessons, too. I will have to find a copy!

  3. Thanks for another great addition to Book Talk Tuesday! I love sharing wordless picture books- even with older kids, How did I not buy chalk this year?? My favorite is Tuesday by David Weisner.

  4. I love wordless books! Chalk was one of my favs for 2010 - I was totally hoping in would get an ALA award this past Jan.
    Don't know Tuba Lesson or Chicken thief though - thanks for the recs!
    Lehman is my hands down fav for wordless adventure - she has a new one I still have to get my hands on.
    I work with mainly native English speakers -and love to use wordless books them. I project them digitally for working with a larger group of kids (so all can see well) and have them help to tell the story using "picture clues". We talk about "reading" the pictures.
    When we vote on favorite books we have read together at the end of the year - the wordless ones usually come out on top.

  5. Oh, I am a lifelong fan of wordless books. I love giving them as new baby gifts. :) One title I love is Free Fall by David Weisner. I used it with my kids for analogy and figurative language work. "It looks like... what else does it look like..." The art is all about transition and imagination, so it works well.

  6. A librarian I knew used Tuesday by David Wiesner and played Valkyrie while turning the pages..the music goes perfectly with this book. I used it last year with my K-3rd grade students, and they ASKED for it again this year.