Though I have an undying love for wordless picture books (check out some of my favorites: Journey by Aaron Becker, The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee and Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle), some of my other favorite picture books are of the nearly wordless variety.
Nearly wordless (and wordless) picture books are wonderful for many reasons. These books encourage a dialogue between caregiver and child as they work together to use the the sparse text, punctuation, and illustrations as clues to understand the story. This decoding helps children to develop narrative skills and to think and write creatively. In short, all important things for developing strong literacy skills.
Here are a few of my favorite nearly wordless picture books:
Jeff Mack is the master of comedic picture books that utilize one word or phrase paired with vibrant illustrations to tell an entire story. In Good News, Bad News two friends with differing perspectives, attempt to go on an enjoyable afternoon picnic. Frog settles in for a relaxing day at the pond in Ah Ha! but is surprised by the company of some other animals. The entire story is told through bright illustrations and different combinations of the letters in the title, “Ah Ha!”
By far my favorite in this format (and the book you are going to get for your birthday if you are a child younger than 5 in my family) is Moo! by David LaRochelle. In this super silly story about a cow out on a joyride, readers are charmed and entertained by the simple text; all variations of “Moo.” Punctuation, a variety of font sizes and the bold pictures make for an adventurous ride.
Two friends in Banana! by Ed Vere address the challenging prospect of sharing a highly desirable banana. Vere only uses two words throughout this book, but paired with his expressive illustrations and emotive color use, readers weave together a story of sharing and friendship (and the universal theme of wanting your own banana).
Ask a librarian what their favorite nearly wordless picture book is!
-Caitie, CLP- Allegheny