A wordless picture book celebrates the power of art and imagination.
A little boy reads about Africa and then creates his own adventures with his pencils and paints. Wordless books require readers to slow down and read the pictures, and careful children will see beyond the main storyline by looking at the whole illustration. Why is the boy in bed and not outside? The inhaler and bottle of medicine on the side table are hints. But binoculars and an umbrella on the other side of the table tell them that he is not always bedridden. As he draws, he falls deeply into the rich world of his imaginary Africa. First he draws an elephant, and then he rides away on it. He paints zebras, has a sandwich for lunch, records a giraffe stampede and shares one of his many other sandwiches with the gorillas. After a hair-raising encounter with an aggressive rhino, the little artist shares his pencils and food with other primates, who return the favor and sketch him. Colón’s signature scratched-watercolor technique adds richness and emotion to this warm story, but it’s the framing scenes at beginning and end that really sparkle here. Simple line-and-color washes put the young man at the center of the story and help readers identify with him.
Young artists, reach for your sketchbooks. (Picture book. 4-8)