Publishing: Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard Books, New York, 1988
Awards: 1989 Caldecott Honor
Description: A boy falls asleep with a book and, through his dreams, falls into several fantastic settings with fantastic creatures.
Programming: Have students narrate the story, or explain what happens. Have them share their weirdest or funniest dreams. Have older students explain how they know this from the pictures-which details create the story. What are the characters like? How do you know? etc. Compare this book to Wiesner’s other works.
Publishing: Four Winds Press, New York, 1980
Awards: 1981 Caldecott Honor
Description: An older lady in all grey goes to the market to buy some strawberries. A blue lady? creature? tries to follow her and steal the strawberries. After several near-misses and failed attempts, the lady finally blends into some all-grey surrounding and manages to shake the blue person, who has discovered a different kind of berry growing wild to eat instead.
Programming: Have younger students narrate the story from the pictures, have older students analyze the fantastical elements, use of negative space as part of the lady’s character, and how the emotion is conveyed through the illustrations only.
Publishing: Marshall Cavendish Children’s, Tarrytown; NY, 2010
Description: Three kids go to the park on a rainy day and discover some magical chalk that brings to life anything they draw. When one of the children draws a tyrannosaurus rex, the kids must run for their lives, and after righting the problem they decide they have had enough with the chalk. The illustrations are extremely realistic, giving the book a modern feel.
Programming: Have students narrate the wordless pictures as you “read” it. Go outside and play with chalk. Ask students to write about what they would draw if they had found the magical chalk.
Publishing: Viking, New York, 1995
Awards: Caldecott Honor
Description: Johnson has a play on the typical alphabet books by using “found” objects and scenes with the letters hidden in them. All of them are urban scenes.
Programming: I think this would be a great book to use to review the alphabet with a class that has already learned it. Taking the time to ask students what the letter looks like first and then having them explain or trace the letter in the picture would help to reinforce the concept.
Publishing: Schwartz & Wade, New York, 2011
Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner
Description: This wordless book shows Daisy and her favorite ball. In a scuffle with another dog, the ball pops and Daisy is sad until her flat red ball is replaced by a new blue ball.
Programming: The following site has some great ideas, including having students discuss the loss of a beloved toy and how they felt, writing narrations and captions for the illustrations in this book, and acting out parts of the book.
Publishing: Clarion Books, New York, 1999.
Awards: Caldecott Honor
Description: A little boy goes on a field trip with his class to the empire state building. Only, the little boy journeys with his new cloud-friend to Sector 7, where clouds are manufactured and distributed. The boy begins to show the clouds his drawings and instead of forming to the plans made for them, they become fish and other fantastic sea creatures, much to the consternation of those who work in Sector 7. The story is wordless and illustrations are in Wiesner’s typical realistic style.
Programming: I would read this book in accompaniment with a lesson about weather and the different types of clouds. Students might use cotton balls to represent the different types. For example, a cirrus cloud might be small wisps of a cotton ball while a cumulus cloud might be several cotton balls stuck together.
For example, see this blog: http://krazyaboutkiddos.blogspot.com/2011/09/cloud-activity.html
Publishing: Little, Brown, and Company, New York, 2009
Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner (2010)
Description: This wordless book retells Aesop’s fable of the Lion and the mouse, in which the lion sets his tiny prey go free and the mouse returns the favor by saving the lion from a poacher’s net. Despite the lack of words, this is a rich telling, with setting and background details conveyed in the illustrations.
Programming: It would probably be a good idea to read some of Aesop’s other fables for comparison and to discuss the lessons that each is supposed to teach. I have seen some very cute lion’s masks that can be made from paper plates and construction paper. Students might also write a time when someone helped them or when they helped someone.