Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

So I absolutely loved Molly Idle‘s Flora and the Penguin (2014, Chronicle). A wordless picture book about a little girl named Flora and a penguin, Flora and the Penguin is one of those books will love to read again and again.

Here’s what I LOVE about this book.

(1) It has no words. This aspect encourages readers to make their own meaning. I can see this book helping early readers learn to tell their own stories as they practice building oral language skills. I can also see older students working on visual text analysis as they study plot and reader response theory. What’s great about this book is that readers of all ages have to co-create meaning with the text, a central idea to Rosenblatt’s reader response theory.

(2) The paper flaps and multi-page spreads. They’re not on every page but when they do appear, they really help the reader become part of the narrative. Readers literally have to make the story happen. In addition to several flaps, the book contains a multi-page pull-out section at the story’s climax. Readers of all ages will enjoy these interactive features.

(3) It’s calming. Although the book has all of the elements of what makes a good story (e.g. tension, climax, resolution), overall, it exudes a certain sense of calmness. I’m not sure if the lack of words makes us slow down and really enjoy what we’re reading. But there is something about having to narrate the story for yourself that makes you slow down and really appreciate the book. And I like this aspect of Flora and the Penguin. 

Tell me your thoughts on this wordless picture books in the comments below.

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