Tuesday, March 24, 2009

David Wiesner

Remember all the things that a picture book has to be to win a Caldecott Medal or Caldecott Honor? When I read that list, I think of David Wiesner. And I’m not the only one. He is only the second person ever to win three Caldecott Medals. Two more of his books are Caldecott Honor Books. This is extremely impressive but what really matters is how the books make you feel. Do you like his books?

I do!

I especially love the books that do not use words at all to tell the story, like the three I’ll tell you about today.

David Wiesner’s Caldecott Honor Book, Sector 7 is amazing. Using only pictures, Wiesner tells the story of boy who makes friends with a cloud while on a class trip. The cloud takes him to Sector 7 where all the clouds for the eastern coast of the U.S. are formed and sent into the world. There, the boy and the cloud cause some mischief that turns the sky into a giant, under-the-sea-themed art exhibit.

Tuesday, winner of a Caldecott Medal, uses words only to tell us that the story takes place through the night on a Tuesday. Just as you would expect from David Wiesner, the rest of the story is told with pictures. On this particular Tuesday, a collection of frogs rise out of the water and ride their lily pads like magic carpets through the town. I especially love when the frogs get caught up in the drying laundry.

And finally: Flotsam, another Caldecott Medal winner. In this story, again without text, an interesting piece of flotsam washes up on a beach and a boy discovers it. The underwater camera is ancient and filled with unbelievable pictures of sea life. In one picture, a family of octopi relax in their living room while fish swim between the pieces of furniture. In another picture, colonies live in seashells on the backs of turtles. But the best part of the story is the history of the camera. Generations of children have passed the secrets of the sea from one to the next by putting a new roll of film in the camera, taking a picture of themselves, and tossing the camera back into the ocean.

I recommend that you check out Houghton Mifflin’s webpage about David Wiesner if you’re interested in knowing more about this incredibly talented artist.

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