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Flotsam [Hardcover]

David Wiesner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.99
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Book Description

Sept. 4 2006 Caldecott Medal Book
A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.

Each of David Wiesner's amazing picture books has revealed the magical possibilities of some ordinary thing or happening--a frog on a lily pad, a trip to the Empire State Building, a well-known nursery tale. In this Caldecott Medal winner, a day at the beach is the springboard into a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep, and of the qualities that enable us to witness these wonders and delight in them.

Frequently Bought Together

Flotsam + Tuesday + Free Fall
Price For All Three: CDN$ 35.29

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

  • Tuesday CDN$ 9.89
  • Free Fall CDN$ 8.08

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Product Details

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 4–A wave deposits an old-fashioned contraption at the feet of an inquisitive young beachcomber. Its a Melville underwater camera, and the excited boy quickly develops the film he finds inside. The photos are amazing: a windup fish, with intricate gears and screwed-on panels, appears in a school with its living counterparts; a fully inflated puffer, outfitted as a hot-air balloon, sails above the water; miniature green aliens kowtow to dour-faced sea horses; and more. The last print depicts a girl, holding a photo of a boy, and so on. As the images become smaller, the protagonist views them through his magnifying glass and then his microscope. The chain of children continues back through time, ending with a sepia image of a turn-of-the-20th-century boy waving from a beach. After photographing himself holding the print, the youngster tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it makes its way to its next recipient. This wordless books vivid watercolor paintings have a crisp realism that anchors the elements of fantasy. Shifting perspectives, from close-ups to landscape views, and a layout incorporating broad spreads and boxed sequences, add drama and motion to the storytelling and echo the photographic theme. Filled with inventive details and delightful twists, each snapshot is a tale waiting to be told. Pair this visual adventure with Wiesners other works, Chris Van Allsburgs titles, or Barbara Lehmans The Red Book (Houghton, 2004) for a mind-bending journey of imagination.–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. As in his Caldecott Medal Book Tuesday (1991), Wiesner offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings. At the seaside, a boy holds a magnifying glass up to a flailing hermit crab; binoculars and a microscope lay nearby. The array of lenses signals the shifting viewpoints to come, and in the following panels, the boy discovers an old-fashioned camera, film intact. A trip to the photo store produces astonishing pictures: an octopus in an armchair holding story hour in a deep-sea parlor; tiny, green alien tourists peering at sea horses. There are portraits of children around the world and through the ages, each child holding another child's photo. After snapping his own image, the boy returns the camera to the sea, where it's carried on a journey to another child. Children may initially puzzle, along with the boy, over the mechanics of the camera and the connections between the photographed portraits. When closely observed, however, the masterful watercolors and ingeniously layered perspectives create a clear narrative, and viewers will eagerly fill in the story's wordless spaces with their own imagined story lines. Like Chris Van Allsburg's books and Wiesner's previous works, this visual wonder invites us to rethink how and what we see, out in the world and in our mind's eye. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Show . . . Don't Tell March 27 2008
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
This book will appeal to youngsters old enough to be interested in science and who know a little about magnifying glasses, cameras, microscopes, and how the tides work. David Wiesner leaves lots of room for imagination with this unexpected, wordless story.

The only words you'll find in the book are on the dust jacket (defining flotsam and telling about the "author") and on signs and packages in the illustrations. That leaves lots of room for the "reader's" imagination to work overtime.

If that weren't enough stimulation, Mr. Wiesner puts in some fanciful illustrations that might reflect a child's imagination at work. I can imagine having lots of fun at a sleepover as each child interprets what's going on in the book.

As the book opens, you see a large eye looking at a very funny crab. Then you see the big picture in a two-page spread as a blond-headed, blue-eyed youngster is holding a crab and studying the crab through a magnifying glass. In the background there are two parents reading, shovels, binoculars, a microscope in a plastic bag, snorkel gear, pails full of flotsam, and a small box with a tentacle sticking out. In the background are a sea shell and a huge sand castle. The boy then heads for the water line where he spots a different kind of crab.

When a big wave comes in, the boy is overturned and a most unexpected bit of flotsam appears . . . one that forms the base of the story.

The story was so unexpected and interesting that I've re-read it several times to think about further meanings. I'm sure you'll have the same joy as I did.

An imaginative youngster will have even more.

Take a peek!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endless Possibilities Sept. 25 2010
This incredible book has left me speechless but it has quite a contrary effect on my son. Liberated from the restrictions of a story line, he is excited about the fact that it is a wordless book. He quickly processed the fascinating pictures and used his own words, observations and imagination to make up a story full of details and comments. I then gave the book to my daughter and enjoyed a different reaction and story. Inevitably, the kids asked me to take them to the beach so they might find the camera drawn in the book. "Kids, we already found the camera. It is this book." I told them, "and we will play it forward. But this time, we will not toss it back into the water. We will fly it with an airplane to reach our uncle living in Taiwan thousands miles away". Uncle is a very accomplished artist though he may not speak much English. With this book, it will not be a problem - and that is the beauty of wordless FLOTSAM. Have fun with the book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pictures Worth a Thousand Words... and more March 27 2010
By Squeak 'n Banana TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David Wiesner is well known for his stories told simply through well rendered images (see also: Tuesday and Sector 7). However, he is more than just a good illustrator. He has a keen eye for details so that you feel as though the world he takes you into could be possible. His sense of the magical has its complement in his subtle wit. The living room scene with the octopi is a fine example of this. Another book that will be treasured and passed on to your children's children.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Illustrations! Nov. 8 2009
Even though it has few words in it, Flotsam is a wonderful book! I purchased it for my nieces and they love it! The illustrations are incredible, it tells the story with pictures. When showing it to children one can talk about what is happening in the picture. I loved the book!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy Weird...Pretty Close to Perfect! Jan. 24 2011
It's tough to have kids actively engage in the reading of a story...at least when they can't read. They always can look at the pictures though and that makes most stories from David Wiesner special because they allow your child to tell you the story. That trading of places fits perfectly well with the (cohesive) juxtaposition of images that flows from page to page. This story is short and odd and should be in everyone's book collection, ready to be passed on from generation to generation.
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