Recommended Wordless Picturebooks

A great picturebook does not always need words to make it worth sharing. Wordless picture books can still help a young child learn to love books and set them on the path to being a great reader. Enjoying a well-done picturebook with no words can help a child build their comprehension skills, predict what will happen next, and enhance their ability to take words and meaning from pictures. These are important tools to have as reading skills develop and grow.
Most importantly, they can show even the youngest and most challenged readers the beauty of being drawn into a new world through the pages of a book.

Chalk by Bill Thomson
A wordless picture book about three children who go to a park on a rainy day, find some chalk, and draw pictures that come to life.

Shadow by Suzy Lee
A little girl uses her imagination and a light bulb to go on an adventure in a dark attic.

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle.

Journey by Aaron Becker
Using a red marker, a young girl draws a door on her bedroom wall and through it enters another world where she experiences many adventures, including being captured by an evil emperor.

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The enduring friendship between a dog and a robot is portrayed in this wordless graphic novel.

Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage
In this wordless picture book, follow Walrus on a happy-go-lucky spree through the big city, as he tries on different hats to disguise himself from the chasing zookeeper.

Tuesday by David Wiesner
Frogs rise on their lily pads, float through the air, and explore the nearby houses while their inhabitants sleep.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.

If you are still looking for more you might also want to check out; Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole, Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd,  Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola, Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka, The Line by Paula Bossio, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, Bluebird by Bob Staake,  The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller, Home by Jeannie Baker,  Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman, Time Flies by Eric Rohmann, Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu, The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, The Secret Box by Barbara Lehman, Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle, Free Fall by David Wiesner, or  Flotsam by David Wiesner.

Monstrously Magnificent Picture Books

If your kids are anything like mine, or were when they young, they have a fascination with monsters. Both my five and my seven year old love anything that they can slap a ‘scary’ label on, as long as it does not get too scary. Scooby-Doo, and an ever-cycling cast of creatures are the constant source of happy conversations and late night fears. Vampires, ghosts, zombies, mummies, and a wide assortment of creatures have become the focus of one or both of my children at any given time.

Some books, movies, and television shows featuring monsters are silly fun, others creepy and entertaining, while others cross a line (some times without me even realizing it until the questions or nightmares start) into the realm of actually scary.  Finding the right balance of fun and creepy without crossing the line into actually fright inducing can be difficult. Here are some of the books that I have found to be entertainingly spooky or silly, without becoming too scary.

We have a Monster Lit Kit– a collection of books, activities, a CD, and a DVD to please young monster lovers. The lit kit is includes the books Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella, Birthday MonstersFrank was a Monster Who Wanted to DanceThe Monsters at End of this Book, Monster Goose, My Monster Mama Loves Me So, Monster Manners, Monster Things to Make and DoThere’s a Nighmare in my Closet, and  The Very Worst Monster. The music CD include is Scream Factory Favorites which is z collection of songs based on the characters from Monsters, inc. and the DVD included is Cookie Monster’s Best Bites. We have Lit Kits available on most topics out youngest readers, and their families or teachers enjoy.

Big Scary Monster by Thomas Docherty
Big Scary Monster is one misunderstood beastie. He loves to jump out and surprise his friends, but he’s not mean, really. Yet when his friends start hiding from him, he decides to look for new creatures to frighten, only to wind up finding out he’s a bit of a scaredy-cat himself!

Bone Soup by Cambria Evans
Retells the classic tale about a traveller, a ghost, who tricks a town’s witches, ghouls, and zombies into helping him make soup. A Halloween themed version of Stone Soup.

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
Checking under the bed for his monster, Ethan discovers that he is gone fishing for a week, and realizing he can’t sleep without him tries to find a substitute monster.

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Leonardo is a terrible monster — he can’t seem to frighten anyone. When he discovers the perfect nervous little boy, will he scare the lunch out of him? Or will he think of something better?

The Monsters’ Monster By Patrick McDonnell
Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom spend much of their time arguing over who is the “biggest and baddest” until they build a monster together that turns out to be very different than what they expect.

My Friend the Monster by Eleanor Taylor
After his family moves into their new house, Louis the fox discovers a very frightened monster living under his bed, and when he takes the monster to the park with him, the monster helps him make new friends.

Sally and the Some-Thing by George O’Connor
Stuck at home with her mom and her new sibling, Sally heads for the swamp with her fishing pole and bike. What she discovers, a slimy, slithery Some-Thing, is a new best friend. Mud pies, burping contests, snail racing–and sensational, beautiful artwork deliver plenty of kid appeal.

If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley
Monsters sing their own version of this popular song that encourages everyone to express their happiness through voice and movement.

For more monstrously fun reading, you might also want to check out; Bedtime Monsters by Josh Schneider, Some Monsters are Different by David Milgrim, Ghost in the House by Ammi-Joan Paquette, Monsters on Machines by Deb Lund, There Was an Old Monster by Rebecca Emberley, Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley, There’s a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer, Most Loved Monster by Lynn Downey, The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber, Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott, When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor, Skeleton for Dinner by Margery Cuyler, Bedtime For Monsters By Ed Vere, Beasty Bath By Robert Neubecker, Goodnight, Little Monster By Helen Ketteman, or  Broom, Zoom! by Caron Lee Cohen.

Picturebooks for Raising Independent Girls

I was never the typically girl dressed in pink (willingly anyway) and pretending to be a princess. Instead, I was out climbing trees and playing astronaut with the boys and defending my right to do so even though I was ‘just a girl’. My daughter loves pink and purple, but is just as likely to jump in a mud puddle as she would be to convince her big brother and all the superheros or monsters of the day to have a tea party. I want her to stay open to all possibilities and be a strong individual. I do not want her waiting for a prince or knight to rescue her, so I am always on the lookout for books that reinforce that idea. Here are some of the best picturebooks that I have found that support growth of every girl into a strong, capable individual.

The Paper Bag Princess written by Robert N. Munsch; illustrated Michael Martchenko
After her castle and clothes are destroyed by the dragon, Princess Elizabeth, dressed only in a paper bag, sets out to rescue Prince Ronald, who was taken captive.

Me– Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Holding her stuffed toy chimpanzee, young Jane Goodall observes nature, reads Tarzan books, and dreams of living in Africa and helping animals. Includes biographical information on the prominent zoologist.

The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah with Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Best friends Lily and Salma disagree over their preferred foods, but after trading sandwiches to see how they taste, the girls change their minds.

I Like Myself! written by Karen Beaumont; illustrated by David Catrow
In rhyming text, a child expresses her self-esteem and exults in her unique identity.

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham; illustrated by Juan Wijngaard
When her mother becomes too ill to harvest tea on the nearby plantation, Shenaz is too small to fill in, but when she tells the monkeys she has befriended why she is sad, they bring her a basket filled with rare and valuable wild tea.

The Gardener written by Sarah Stewart; pictures by David Small
A series of letters relating what happens when, after her father loses his job, Lydia Grace goes to live with her Uncle Jim in the city but takes her love for gardening with her.

For even more books you can take a look at these options; Amazing Grace written by Mary Hoffman; pictures by Caroline Binch, The Three Ninja Pigs written by Corey Rosen Schwartz; illustrated by Dan Santat, Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots by Rebecca Janni, Blueberry Girl written by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Charles Vess, Not All Princesses Dress in Pink written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple; illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin, My Name is Not Isabella written by Jennifer Fosberry; pictures by Mike Litwin, Basketball Belles written by Sue Macy; illustrated by Matt Collins, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen written by Cari Best ; pictures by Christine Davenier, O’Sullivan Stew: a Tale Cooked Up in Ireland wirtten by Hudson Talbott, Unspoken: a Story From the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole, and The Princess Knight written by Cornelia Funke; illustrations by Kerstin Meyer; translated by Anthea Bell.

On Our Shelves: New Picturebooks

Are you running out of picturebooks to share with your youngest book lovers, or just sick and tired of re-reading the same story over and over again?  Well, here are some of the most recent arrivals in our collection that you may want to check out.

That is NOT a Good Idea!

That is NOT a Good Idea!, written and illustrated by Mo Willems is reminiscent of silent movies, with the classic damsel in distress. The story starts with a hungry fox inviting a plump goose for dinner and as the story continues in a familiar fable-like arc, a young chick (and young readers and listeners) repeat in growing volumes that they think the choices made are NOT a Good Idea. Full-color illustrations, the repeated phrase, and the unexpected ending will make this a fast favorite and a requested re-read.

Little Mouse

Little Mouse by Alison Murray is a picturebook about a young girl who has the nickname of ‘Little Mouse”. However, sometimes she is annoyed by the nickname and wishes it was not hers. Sometimes she likes to be as loud as an elephant, waddle like a penguin, or be as fierce as a lion. But then again, sometimes, like when she wants to cuddle with her mother, the nickname is just fine.

Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom

Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom by John Rocco is a fun picturebook about a boy and his friends that play superhero a lot. Rocco believes that his super powers come from his hair, and that the crazier his hair gets, the more powerful he becomes. One day Rocco is dragged to the barber and gets a haircut. In his despair about the loss of hair, and possibly his powers, he discovers that the rest of his crew and their crazy hair, have all met similar fates. In the end, Rocco discovers that he is just as super as ever.


The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! by Scott Magoon is a clever twist on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. It is told from the point of view of an unexpected narrator and, through snappy text and lighthearted illustrations, demonstrates the value of telling the truth, the importance of establishing trust, and (of course!) the possibility that a beast you created to get attention can become a real-life friend.

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague Three pigs spend their money on different things: potato chips, sody-pop, and building supplies. It comes as no surprise that a wolf is able to blow down the first two pigs’ houses. When the wolf can’t blow down the third pig’s brick house, everyone comes together and the fun begins. The first two pigs give him potato chips and sody-pop, and the third pig makes everyone a healthy meal. Since only one pig has a house left, the other two pigs and the wolf move in with her. The somewhat bad wolf is no longer hungry.

Some of my other new favorites include Cheetah Can’t Lose by Bob Shea, Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? by Julie Middleton and Russell Ayto, Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano and Erin Stead, The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten by Maureen Fergus, and Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira and Poly Bernatene.

Do you have a new favorite or discovery that you want to share?

Sharon Reads: Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Exclamation Mark is a picturebook written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (a favorite of mine) and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. The exclamation mark stands out, no matter what he does or where he goes. He would really like to be more like everyone else, but he is just too different. Finally a friend shows him that being different is a good thing, and that he has endless potential. It is his differences that make him special, make him wonderful, and gives him his abilities. I know I have gone through moments (or years) where I thought I had to twist myself to fit other’s expectations to some degree, and I think that everyone regardless of age can remember going through it as well.


Exclamation Mark

Exclamation Mark seems like a simple enough story, but like in Little Pea, Spoon and Chopsticks, we see that it can be the simple things that can really change us. I highly recommend Exclamation Mark to everyone. That’s right, everyone. I also recommend taking a peek at Rosenthal’s other books and enjoying the combination of a simple of the story with the impact larger concepts hidden in that story. Liking yourself and being yourself is something that readers of all ages might need to learn, and be reminded of on a regular basis. This book can help with that, and make you smile about it the whole time.