I’ve started creating a page on wordless picture books on the teacherwiki, and I have just discovered the wonderful world of David Wiesner. This creator of wordless picture books has a fabulously whimsical and quirky imagination that really comes through in his works.
The two titles I read today were “Sector 7” and “Flotsam”- two highly original and imaginative stories. “Sector 7” is about a boy who meets a cloud and gets transported to the mysterious Sector 7- a type of weather factory that “designs” the different types of clouds and designates their destinations in the world to set weather patterns!!! However, the clouds are unhappy with the seemingly repetitive types of clouds that are being manufactured, so they employ the boy to draw new blueprints of fantastical desgins.
It’s an original take on the revolution, similar to the ideas in Geroge Orwell’s “Animal Farm” or from a child’s point of view, “Farmer Duck” by Martin Waddell (which I always refer to as ‘Animal Farm for children’!) Here the revolution takes place to make the world a much more joyous and beautiful place with the newly designed clouds taking to the sky.
We did a bit of a brainstorm about the possible KLA links with “Sector 7” and we came up with a lot of ideas. Cross-curricular links could be made with: Science (formation of clouds, types of cloud, weather), CAPA (architecture of buildings, MC Escher, not to mention drama and dance activities such as machines, hotseating, dance a page) and maths (patterns and algebra, latitutdes and longitudes, time)
Also, I find the reading of wordless picture books fascinating- the cultural “milieu” required to read and understand wordless picture books is an extremely complex process. A reader of wordless picture books must activate their prior knowledge about how narratives work in order to make meaning from it. This has implications for children who are reluctant readers or writers. For the former: I think that all children will be able to read and understand the story of wordless books, because they are activating their knowledge of images and visual grammar. I conjure up images of children poring over the illustrations time and time again, and finding new meaning and new connections each time. For the latter: wordless picture books can be used in the classroom for creative writing- students can write the narrative behind the pictures, or even the speech bubbles in a comic strip style format.