Flotsam Hardcover – Sep 4 2006
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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!
Our 4 year old loves it.
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2011 by DaddyMac
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. Read morePublished on March 27 2010 by Squeak 'n Banana
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