books and cleverness

I read books of all sorts, but mostly kids' lit and young adult literature and speculative fiction for all ages—usually from a feminist perspective. 


I've adopted a personalized version of the CHOICE reviews approach to recommendations/star ratings:

***** = Essential, a.k.a. truly love, absolute must-read, buy it now
**** = Highly Recommended, a.k.a. this is a really good book; I would buy it as a gift
*** = Recommended, a.k.a. pretty good; worth reading
** = Optional, a.k.a. meh
* = Not Recommended; a.k.a. this is not a good book

On Wordless Picture Books

"Told in Pictures," an article from Eye magazine, is a great examination of wordless picture books.


From the article: "Re-zoom, Istvan Banyai (1995). New York-based Banyai constantly changes viewpoint and scale in his books Zoom and Re-zoom (both 1995)."



My favorite part of the article is a paragraph about the way kids read them: 


"Observing a group of children reading wordless picturebooks, Judith Graham noted that, on the first reading, all the children ‘told’ the stories in the present tense, much like an oral storyteller, which she said was ‘not surprising as they have been put into the position of commentator on events whose outcome they don’t know’. She also remarked that they all seemed very tired when they had finished."


One beautiful and absorbing wordless picture book not mentioned in this article that I highly recommend is The Tree House, by Marije and Ronald Tolman.


It won the Bologna Ragazzi Award in 2010, so others might know it that way, but I discovered it by chance through volunteering at the library. I was totally captivated by the imagination and the beautiful illustrations, and checked it out to take it home with me immediately.