Dandelion’s Dream by Yoko Tanaka

DandelionsdreamDandelion’s Dream by Yoko Tanaka; illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. 2020. Charcoal and digitally colored. Published by Candlewick Press.

Brief summary: Dandelion leaves the meadow of yellow flowers and rides on a train where she continues her journey on the back of a sheep. She keeps traveling until she reaches the city. Dandelion watches a film about airplanes which encourages  her dream to ride on a real one. Dandelion changes  which allows her to fly to the moon.

Comments: Dandelion is a flower that has four paws, a tail, and a lion’s head. I’ll probably see  this character every time I come across a dandelion growing in my yard.

This picture book is a story without words.

One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole

One Little BagOne Little Bag: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole, illustrated by Henry Cole. 2020. Micron Ink Pens. Published by Scholastic Press.

Brief summary: This story without words is illustrated in black and white with the color brown emphasizing the bag as it begins as a tree log being chipped, rolled, and made into a paper bag. Young readers follow a boy and his bag. The bag has a heart added and used as a lunch bag and continues in the growing milestones of the boy gathering more hearts inscriptions as it ages three generations.

Comments: Wow. That is certainly one well-made paper bag. Students could talk about all of the uses they could have with a paper bag. Ask why this bag was saved and reused.

Sign Off by Stephen Savage; illustrated by Stephen Savage

Sign Off by Stephen SavageSign Off by Stephen Savage; illustrated by Stephen Savage. 2019. Published by Beach Lane Books.

Brief summary: This is a wordless book that takes the reader around town looking at street signs when someone is looking and then what happens when no one is around. The figures go off the signs and end up together to create another day of living on the signs.

Comments: So clever. I will never be able to look at a road sign in the same way after reading this book! The illustrations are of two page layouts with large, bold colored illustrations. There is a note on the copyright page  explaining that the signs in the book(many we see in our neighborhoods) were mainly created by Cook and Shanosky Associates(graphic artists).

I would use this book at the beginning of the school year and talk about the signs we see around the school. Why do we need these signs? Students could create their own signs on paper or online.

I Got It! by David Wiesner

I Got It

I Got It! by David Wiesner; illustrated by David Wiesner. 2018. Acrylic, gouache, and watercolor. Published by Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Brief summary: This wordless story is about a boy playing baseball and needs to catch the ball in the outfield. Many worries go through his mind leaving the reader wondering if he is going to catch it or not.

Comments: I teach stories without words by having everyone silent while I turn the pages. The story unfolds in their heads. Afterwards, we go through the book and take turns telling what the pictures are telling us.

This story can be taught how we sometimes worry so much about something but do not need to at the end. We either catch the ball or not. If not, we learn what to do next time in order to catch it.

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Waltz of the Snowflakes by Elly Mackay

Waltz of the Snowflakes

Waltz of the Snowflakes by Elly Mackay; illustrated by Elly Mackay. 2017. Published by RP Kids.

Brief summary: A young girl and her grandmother get ready to go in the cold and blustery December weather to the ballet. Once inside, the girl sees a boy sticking out his tongue to her. Coincidentally, they end up sitting next to one another in the balcony section. Once the orchestra starts, her attention goes to the stage where she experiences many emotions as she sees the story unfold. The shared aesthetic experience brings the two children closer together with her even offering him a candy.

Comments: This story without words captures the first time a young girl see The Nutcracker. The illustrations are dark and cold to match the mood of winter and the darkness of the auditorium. The colors are brilliant and full on the stage. The story is easy to follow with the paneling and action of the illustrations.

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi

Draw the Line

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi; illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi. 2017. Published by Roaring Brook Press.

Brief summary: Two boys are drawing a long line on the ground unaware of each other until they bump backs. They connect their lines and happily play with the rope they have made. One of the boys accidentally pulls the rope too hard causing the other one to fall. They end up in a tug of war with the center of their rope turning into a growing crevice separating them. They fall back to the ground with the line now on the ground with a larger canyon separating the boys as they argue with one another. One of the boys goes to where the line has the smallest gap and plays in the dirt. Delighted with getting dirty, he raises his muddy hand to the other boy who decides to join him. Soon all of the canyon is filled again as they play in the mud. They happily run off together into the sun to play.

Comments: This story without words can be easily understood by all.  The four colors are black, grays, yellow(happy) and purple(angry). The illustrations often are twofold.

Buy here.

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Wolf in the Snow

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell; illustrated by Matthew Cordell. 2017. Pen, ink with watercolor. Published by Feiwel and Friends.

Brief summary: A young girl walks to school in the snow but leaves due to a blizzard. She gets lost in the whiteout at the same time a young wolf pup does too.  They meet each other where she picks him up as the snow is too deep for him to walk. She follows the howling of wolves in the distance where she meets his mother. She puts the pup down before trying to head home to the lights in the distance. Exhausted, she curls up in the woods where the wolves sit around her howling back to her hound dog. Her mother finds her and all ends well.

Comments: What a great story without words picture books.  Young readers will be in suspense as they wonder if the two will be able to survive the blizzard.

Buy here.

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s(the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs(the Hard Way)

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s(the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell; illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. 2017. Pen and ink, pencil, watercolor and spot digital color. Published by Little, Brown and Company.

Brief summary:  A cat ran out the door of a house and encounters an alligator. The alligator joins the cat to meet a bear. The cat, alligator and the bear come across a chicken. The chicken joins the trio and soon there is a dragon.  The story continues with the five of them. The adventurous  story is wordless with only the capital letter and small letter of the alphabet on the page along with something that begins with the letter. Aa Bb Cc

Comments:  Story without words. There is a list in the back of all of the letters and corresponding  words. I like that this ABC book is different by not telling the reader what the letter is about on the page.  Surprise: It may not be a noun.

Sidenote: I was thrown by the ‘s of ABC’s when I first saw the title of the book. ABCs was taught to me as being plural. I did some research online and found that sometimes ‘s is used to mean a plural to avoid confusion.

Buy here.

Graduation Day by Piotr Parda

Graduation Day

Graduation Day by Piotr Parda; illustrated by Piotr  Parda. 2017. Watercolor, monoprint. Published by Ripple Grove Press.

Brief summary: First scene. There is a student dressed in a graduation gown and mortar looking out of a school window smiling. The wordless story continues with the setting through a bird’s view of a city block all in gray with a school yard in the center. Closer look. There are cracks all over the school building and concrete grounds. Next is a large graduation day banner. Then we see where the plot begins. The student is a victim of a group of children jeering at her, and one shoots a sunflower seed through a straw hitting her in the neck. She picks up the seed. They all go to the graduation ceremony, hear the speech, and  throw their hats in the air. Kids are happy and go home with family members.

She walks alone down the school’s gray halls to her locker one last time where there is a jar full of sunflower seeds revealing to the reader just what type of life this young lady endured. She takes the jar and goes about the empty school grounds planting sunflower seeds in the cracks creating a beautiful bright yellow space.

Comments: Wow. So many words and emotions for a story without words. Not the usual happiness on someone’s graduation day.  This is a story of a person who has been bullied many times made evident of all the sunflower seeds collected in her locker’s jar. She was able to take that hate and meanness and loneliness to create the only bright color in the book…a sunflower garden.  This is a resonating story without words that is not a preachy bullying message of “do not bully; it’s wrong.”  This is about a victim who, despite it all, is able to create hope and beauty where there must have been a lot of heartache. The symbolism of the sunflowers can be understood by even  younger readers.

Buy here.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephani Graegin


Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin; illustrated by Stehani Graegin. 2017.  Published by Schwartz & Wade.

Brief summary:  A young girl takes her plush fox to school for show & tell. At the end of the day, she sets her fox down and swings. A real fox comes along taking it into the forest. She and her friend follow the fox but lose track of it. They come across several forest animals along the way and ask if they have seen the fox doll.  They come across a little village of animals. The girl shows the picture of her fox to several more animals finally leading them to where a little fox kit lives. The fox’s mother tells her daughter to give back the plush fox, but she is heartbroken. The little girls sees how much the fox wants the plush fox, so decides to give her doll as a gift.  The fox kit gives the human girl a unicorn plush in exchange. The two human friends leave the forest and go home. The last page shows each sleeping with their new stuffed dolls.

Comments: The colors are grays, whites, and blues  at the beginning and end of the story with brilliant colors when the two children discover the magical animal village. This is a story without words. Children will pore over this book delighted by the characters, plot, problem, and resolution. This will make a great addition to any elementary library.

Buy here.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).