Friday, November 1, 2013

Mr. Wuffles for Picture Book Friday

Oh, the wordless picture book.  I have to admit that these books rarely capture my attention.  You would think for someone who likes to talk as much as I do, this genre of picture book would be tailored made.  But, alas, I usually find myself feeling a little silly trying to "tell" the story.

But then I saw this wonderful video with the author Henry Cole, reading his wordless picture book Unspoken (thank you to Novalibrarymom for the link.)  For some reason it made a lightbulb go off in my head as I realized that reading these books is like a treasure hunt in pictures.  You and your child can take the journey together as you find more clues in the illustrations about the personality of the characters and how the plot is moving along.  My kids have enjoyed "hunting" for clues or just putting their own spin on things in these books.

The book I am profiling this week is chock full of great illustrations with wonderful details to discover. If you have ever wanted to give a wordless picture book a try, this is the one!  I am including the video of Henry Cole after the book review.  I do think it is well worth watching even if his tone of voice remains quite even keeled throughout.  You'll see what I mean!

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Title:       Mr. Wuffles!

Author:   David Wiesner

Target:    Preschool - Grade 3

What this book is about:
Told without words, this is the story of Mr. Wuffles the cat, who is tired of the plethora of cat toys his owner purchases for him.  However, one particular spaceship catches his eye.  It turns out that it is not a toy at all, but real aliens from outer space.  As these aliens battle the cat and befriend the ants and ladybugs under the radiator they manage to escape unharmed.  However, don’t expect Mr. Wuffles to play with the regular cat toys after this close encounter.

Why I love this book:
Ok, I am not a huge fan of wordless picture books.  I worry that I just won’t have the words to make them interesting.  When I first flipped through this one, I found it mildly amusing but I think I “read” it too fast, missing quite a few of the subtler moments in the illustrations.  I gave it a go with my kids, simply because my daughter likes cats, and I was amazed by their enthusiastic reception.  They were laughing, engaged and finding pieces of the story in the pictures.  

I have to say that I would flip through this book before I attempted to read it to a child.   When you are familiar with the story, it is a lot easier to guide your kids to relevant moments in the illustrations and they will love finding things that move the story along.  We had so much fun with this one that they were still talking about it at diner that night.

Who this book is for:
If you are willing to invest the time in this book, all kids can enjoy it.

Final thoughts:
Probably the best experience I have had reading a wordless book.  The more comfortable I get with this form, the more fun and flexibility I realize the reader has ... but there are still a few that elude me.

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the following link: Mr. Wuffles!  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

And as promised, the video on reading wordless picture books to kids:

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