Described as a story of hope, La La La by Kate DiCamillo is a nearly wordless picture book that captures the emotions of the process of finding a friend. Jaime Kim’s illustrations use bright colors, incredible detail, and soft features to bring this story to life.
This story follows a little girl’s journey as she explores the world in search of companionship. Everywhere she goes she sings out in the hopes of hearing a response from someone, anyone. Beginning with a daytime world the little girl explores and sings out, but hears no response. As she becomes frustrated she gives up until she sees that the world has changed. It is now nighttime and she decides to venture out again into the world in search of a friend.
Upon her discovery of the moon, she becomes incredibly hopeful that she has found a companion, but when the moon does not respond to any of her singing she decides to try and get closer. Climbing a ladder up into the sky, she calls with all her might to the moon but receives no answer. Truly defeated, she returns to her lonely, bland world. Eventually the little girl falls asleep, only to be awoken by a strong voice singing out. Her world is light up by a beam of light coming from the source of the singing.
The little girl finds the rising sun beaming down at her. Finally, the girl’s call of “La” is heard by someone and responded to with an enthusiastic “LA! LA!”. Having found each other and successfully bonded to create a true friendship, the story ends with the rising sun and the little girl singing a beautiful song together.
The author and illustrator notes at the end of the book discuss the creation of this story as simple designs that became a representation of human experiences. DiCamillo says that the message of the book is to remember that “even if we are small and alone and afraid, if we sing, sometimes someone answers back”. Kim’s note about the process of illustrating this story talks about her personal experiences as a little girl and trying to capture the feelings of loneliness, searching for a friend, and the overwhelming relief and love that comes with finally finding someone. This beautiful and delicate story of the search for friendship tells an incredibly relatable tale through mesmerizing illustrations that leave the reader with a powerful feeling of hope.
Flora and the Flamingo is a beautiful wordless picture book by Molly Idle. Flora and the Flamingo was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2013. Molly Idle illustrates a stunning book in which two unlikely characters learn to become friends and dance as one. The book starts off with a young girl wearing flippers and a graceful flamingo. The young girl copies the flamingo’s ballet, but is quick to look away when the flamingo catches her. The flamingo does a flip and makes the young girl, Flora, flop. As Flora is upset, the flamingo reaches out to her and they begin to dance. They begin by doing the same dance apart, but soon the unlikely friends join together to dance as one. The picture book ends with a splash and a bow!
I think there are so many special features in this picture book. First, I love how the picture book is wordless. It allows the readers to create their own stories. A lot of the book is left up to interpretation. For example, one could read the beginning of the book as the flamingo purposely trying to make Flora fall, or as a dance battle between the two characters. I interpreted it as Flora copying the flamingo’s dancing because she want to be like the flamingo.
I also love Flora’s character. Flora is a little girl that doesn’t fit the typical standards of being pretty. I admire that Molly Idle did not create Flora to be a perfectly skinny ballerina. Flora is a character that kids can look up to. She is realistic. If Flora could learn to dance than so can any other young girl.
The best part of the book is the illustrations and the interactive features. Idle nailed the illustrations in Flora and the Flamingo. The drawings contain simple, yet very detailed watercolors. The consistency of color thought the book makes it very visually appealing. Even without words, Idle finds a way to give Flora and the flamingo personalities. The interactive flaps in the book are a fun touch for reading with children. They also allow for the book to speak even though there are no words.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. Molly Idle tells a story with personality and fun without using any words. The illustrations are simple yet stunning, and the soft colors engage the eye. Flora and the Flamingo’s friendship is inspiring, and I cannot wait to share this book with a young person.
By Aliya Meadows
For “Free Choice Friday,” I knew immediately which book I would choose. Tuesday, written and illustrated by David Wiesner, is an almost-all wordless picture book, and it remains to this day a joy to reread and re-explore. It won the 1993 Caldecott winner for its outstanding illustrations, done completely in watercolor paintings. Essentially, Tuesday depicts what absurdity ensues when a pack of frogs mysteriously begin to float. These frogs are given such personality; they freely discover the world as a child would with wide open eyes and a sense of fearlessness. This book sparks the imagination in a way that not many other stories can. The secret is in its lack of narrating text. Children follow these goofy frogs’ adventure throughout the night in whichever way they interpret the story. The reader follows the colorful pictures, and the reader is able to make it his or her own. Young ones love this book because it fosters their intrigue for books and fantastical adventures without tough, long words and tricky sentences discouraging them. Wiesner put a lot of thought, time, and planning into this story to ensure that he was able to engage his audience in an imaginative, yet so realistic, enchantment. His beautifully done pictures are able to grab hold of the reader and more importantly, make you laugh. I suggest this story to all readers: toddlers and preschoolers can understand and enjoy this book as much as a 4th grader or adult can just looking back at an old favorite. If you want to discover just how much excitement and thrill some goofy frogs can experience when their lillypads fly through the air, check out Tuesday today!
Reviewed by: Lauren McMillen