Being prose-challenged got me thinking. Why do I need words to tell a story? If the visuals alone are strong, why not just use images to illustrate a story? Some of the best books out there - especially those for children, are wordless. There is Flora and the Penguin (by Molly Idle), Shadow (by Suzie Lee) or Sidewalk Flowers (by Jon Arno Lawson and Sydney Smith) - just to name a few.
So what makes these books so great?
- They capture your imagination – especially if read aloud with enthusiasm and sound effects.
- There is room for interpretation – the story can change every time it is “read”.
- The story is well thought out - it has a proper beginning, middle, and end.
- They are well paced, and appear in an easy-to-understand sequence of illustrations.
- Anyone, no matter what language they speak can “read” it – there is universal appeal.
- The story is full of emotion or action.
- They are timeless.
The best part of wordless picture books is that they help children develop language, creative thinking and enhance future reading skills. These books help to create a sense of wonder, excitement and entertainment when it comes to storytelling.
You could also argue that with wordless picture books, you get more “bang for your buck”, as each picture is worth a thousand words.