Flotsam: Eloquence without Words

I came upon this book in the Maryport Maritime Museum, a charming little establishment in the North of England, on the coast of the Lake District. They had an excellent selection of books for sale, I bought two of them. More about “The Storm Whale” another time, here I’ll be concentrating on a remarkable book, with no words and yet a wondrous eloquence.

Flotsam

Flotsam

David Weisener

Andersen Press, 2012 in the UK and originally in the USA Clarion Books, 2006

Flotsam is the third of David Weisener’s books to win the Caldecott Medal, and justly so; this is a book I would keep whether or not I had grand-children.  I find it fascinating on several levels. First, the way the whole story is told, without words, in ravishing detail purely in the beautiful water colour illustrations; an inquisitive child could spend a while looking at the details. Second, the lovely idea of an old camera washing up on the shore and the pictures that camera somehow gathered in its undersea journey. There is so much wit and invention in these scenarios, I laughed out loud at one of the ideas. What’s more there’s an fascinating exploration of the history of the camera, and glimpse into it’s future.

There are so many clever ideas here that I’m not sure what age of child would actually understand the whole story but the undersea pictures may well enthral some pre-school kids.

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