We here at The Carle are (obviously) big fans of picture book art, so when the opportunity comes along for us to revel in some illustrations, we embrace it. To really celebrate picture book illustration, we’ve compiled a collection of picture books that express an entire story without ever writing a word! Each of these books feature vivid illustrations that are perfect for a “read aloud” experience while still being completely captivating for a child to explore on their own. Check out this list of our very favorite wordless books:
The bold shapes and colors of Raschka’s watercolors perfectly encompass the relationship that any one of us had once with a special toy, and the feelings of loss when it broke. This Caldecott winning book is both empathetic and expressive.
Wiesner’s Caldecott winning book only begins to unveil the underwater mysteries of the ocean. A young boy finds an underwater camera washed up on the beach, and with it discovers the magic and beauty of the ocean deep. Watch him explore the secrets this camera holds as he adds a picture of his own.
Lee’s simple, yet bold lines, show us the story of a young girl’s encounter with her own reflection. Whether we are watching her timidly peep through her fingers, or dance with abandon, Lee’s use of the book’s gutter makes for a sublimely self-reflective experience.
DePaola will have you giggling at this scrumptious tale of a woman wakes up with the taste for pancakes. Watch her run around town trying to collect all of the ingredients, as everything goes wrong. This classic tale presses you to ask yourself: what would I do to get my pancakes?!
Readers will delight in following the story of a magical red book (just like yours!) that transports a young girl into entirely new lands, and opens up the possibility of adventure for others after her.
Wiesner’s ability to spin a tale through only pictures is so spectacular, he had two books make the list. In this particular saga, a young boy on a school trip gets whisked away by a runaway cloud, only to be taken to Sector 7′s Cloud Dispatch Center, the facility where clouds are produced. This enduring tale tells the story of creativity, friendship, and the eternal forces of weather and imagination.
In a beautiful wash of colors, the Tolmans show us the story of two bears in a tree house, as they host a whole variety of extraordinary guests, and experience all that their magical tree house has to offer.
Unspoken by Henry Cole (2012, Scholastic Press)
Cole’s beautifully sketched, full-page drawings tell the story of a young girl who discovers a runaway slave hiding in the barn, and the courage she must call upon if she decides to help him.
Do you have a favorite wordless book?