Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Words Optional

If my count is correct, this magnificent children's picture book has exactly 28 words. Twenty-eight!

Not 1,300 ... not 1,000 ... not even 852 ... but, twenty-eight very effective words.

The illustrations carry the story and delight the reader. The talented Nancy Tafuri, who wrote and illustrated this gem, was so very clever when she crafted this Caldecott Honor and ALA Notable Book.

From the words, we know it takes place early in the morning, and that the mother duck is trying to find her missing duckling.

With each turn of the page, the child reader gets to search and point out where the little missing duckling is hiding. It has been tested repeatedly in our house, and consistently results in delightful giggles when the wayward duckling is spotted.

Oh, how I wish I could create such gorgeous pictures. This book is proof that illustrations can truly tell a wonderful story and, sometimes, words are optional.

19 comments:

Amy Tate said...

Oh I agree. I've picked up many picture books in which the writing was good, but the illustrations didn't match. When the two feed off of each other, viola! This is a book I'll have to check out. My daughter is beginning to read, and the less intimidating the better! I don't want her to get discouraged.

Stephanie Faris said...

Illustrations can definitely tell a story. That's why picture books are so complicated. It involves such a fusion between the writer and illustrator...almost like a screenwriter and director on a movie.

MG Higgins said...

I haven't seen this book but it sounds glorious. I'm so envious of that kind of talent!

Lazy Writer said...

My favorite part of many childrens books is the illustrations. Of course, I don't know how powerful they would be without the words (however few). The two go hand in hand.

Kelly said...

This looks like a good one!

Sheri said...

I have this in BIG BOOK form. I used to read it to my kindergarten students each year. They had so much fun trying to find the missing duckling in each page.

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomi DePaola is wordless but tells the stories through pictures about a MC who wants pancakes for breakfast but missing an ingredient. Also David Wiesner's Flotsam is fabulous. Actually, he also did Tuesday - another one. as a teacher, I used to use wordless books so my students could write the text to go with the pictures - a good way to teach beginning, middle, and ending.

And Hugo Cabret could have been drowning in words if half the story wasn't told in it's pictures (by David Selznick)

The Things We Carried said...

It looks just adorable. My Jane would love it!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Ah, if only I could draw!

Looks like a cute book :)

ratu lakhsmita indira said...

hi, thank you so much for the comment :)
you are beautiful yourself, i like your profile photo, it's so nice being surrounded by a beautiful family and you're so lucky to have them!

xo

Keri Mikulski said...

Love picture books. :) Amazing how they say so much with little words.

Lynnette Labelle said...

Somehow, a story isn't the same if the pictures aren't cute. LOL Although, it's even worse if the illustrations are in black and white.

I left a little something for you on my blog. Check it out.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

Sarah Laurence said...

Picture books are harder than they look. Good illustrations help, but they have to be just the right words. This one sounds like a winner from your review. You should join Barrie Summy's book review club next month.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love that book.
My hat is off to picture book writers/illustrators. Very impressive.

lotusgirl said...

I LOVE that book. My kids and I always had such fun helping the mother duck find her duckling.

Barrie said...

My kids LOVED this picture book. LOVED it!

Cathy C. Hall said...

A classic, for sure. And isn't it amazing that kids can "read" this book over and over (and over) again and still delight in finding that duckling?

Makes me wish I still had that particular kiddie talent :-)

CC said...

sometimes no words (or very few) are the BEST for language. :)

Sheri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheri said...

Ooops. I apologize - that's BRIAN Selznick, not David. I am surrounded by Davids though... my husband, my fahter, my hair dresser... Probably the reason for my brain gass.