A unique wordless picture book that will spark discussion and stimulate your child’s imagination. Highly recommended.
A little boy stands in front of a white wall, paint brush in hand. He looks concerned where he should start. We turn the page and he smiles because he now has a column of pink paint down the side of the page. We turn the page and his smile widens as his paint expands across the page to reveal the white outline of a bird. There are six birds on the next page and he is smiling broadly. But, when we turn the page again, his smile has gone – the birds have left the pink wall and are flying off across the page. And so the story continues with a new colour and a new animal on the next page of this unique, wordless picture book.
On first examination The White Book appears to be very simplistic with lots of white space and deliberately child-like illustrations. This is, however, a false impression. When you look closely it is clear that every page of this book has been carefully crafted. Every line and dot in the cartoon-style drawing of the boy has been exactly placed to convey a strong sense of emotion while the choice of colours and the selection of the animals is probably the result of many hours of discussion amongst the book’s three authors.
Children won’t be aware of the amount of work involved but I am confident they will love this story. It is an appealing concept and I am sure they will enjoy ‘reading’ it by themselves. For example, the face of the little boy in the pictures, although simplified, has a wide range of expressions. This gives the child ‘reader’ plenty of scope to work out what he might be thinking or to put their own interpretation on this.
The absence of words makes the book especially appealing to children at the bottom of the picture book age range. Without realising it they will also be learning valuable skills: through their interaction with the story they will be learning the western convention of reading left to right and scanning top to bottom.
For the enlightened parent, who doesn’t see words as a must, The White Book should spark a great deal of discussion with their child and this interaction alone will make the book a great choice.
If you enjoyed this book, you might also like to read Tin by Chris Judge or another wordless picture book Black Cat, White Cat by Silvia Borando.
Date: June 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
Review first published on The Bookbag