Monday, January 22, 2007


Wiesner, David. 2006. FLOTSAM. New York: Clarion. ISBN 0618194576 [Suggested Grade Levels P-3]

The 2006 Caldecott winner, Wiesner’s wordless picture book depicts a fantastic marine world in near-photorealistic detail. The front flap of the book jacket gives this clue: “Flotsam. Something that floats. If it floats in the ocean it may end up on the beach, where someone may find it and be astonished, and share the discovery with someone else.” Both the story and the book itself fulfill this purpose, with astonishing images, including the underwater living room of a middle-class fish family (sunken moving van upside-down behind them), and islands that are actually giant starfish dwarfing the great whales they move among.

The brilliant use of color and imaginative juxtaposition of images are sure to capture the attention of every reader. The Booklist review says, in part, “When closely observed, . . . the masterful watercolors and ingeniously layered perspectives create a clear narrative, and viewers will eagerly fill in the story's wordless spaces with their own imagined story lines.”

Imagine a treasure washed up on a beach or buried in the ground. What would it look like? Where might it have come from? What stories could it tell? Children can write about and/or illustrate their own amazing finds.

Use one illustration to begin a “circle story,” where each teller adds a bit to the story before passing it on. Then children could choose an illustration and create a story about it individually.

Other books by David Wiesner:
Wiesner, David. JUNE 29, 1999. ISBN 0395727677
Wiesner, David. SECTOR 7. ISBN 0395746566
Wiesner, David. TUESDAY. ISBN 0395870828

By Julie Brinker

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