Friday, January 23, 2009

picture book review: flotsam by david wiesner


Flotsam tells the story of a young boy’s day at the ocean. The story is told entirely through pictures. Despite the lack of words, the story is as vast as its depictions of the ocean. Flotsam means something that floats, according to the book jacket. While this young boy enjoys a day at the beach, the reader sees he has brought microscope and a magnifying glass with him. He is curious about the world, and he studies the details of several animals. The real adventure begins when the boy discovers a camera. Until this point, the story could easily be classified as contemporary realism, but the images on the film depict such things as sea creatures sitting on living room furniture. Still, the boy is transported through this fanciful realm of the underwater. Through his powers of observation and with his scientific tools, he is able to learn about the unknown lives of sea creatures. He also discovers photographs of past finders of the camera. The pictures tell this story, but each page has some many delightful details. This book would be wonderful for story time or one-on-one reading. Even those unable to read would be well engaged describing the scene. In a storytelling situation, I would ask each child to take turns describing a page, so we are all storytellers. Older readers might also delight in this book, despite its lack of words, because the pictures have so much detail. Certainly, different readers will pick up on different details on each page. I’m certainly not surprised Wiesner won the Caldecott Award for this book. It’s also a lovely early read for future graphic novel fans.

Rating: 2 stars (liked it)

Reading Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge
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