• Why we love wordless picture books

    by  • 1 May 2018 • Gerda Muller, Sarah Laidlaw, Seasons, Through the Seasons • 0 Comments

    Can you read a book without words? The rise of wordless picture books would suggest that yes, you can. In this type of book, the story emerges through exploring the illustrations, rather than the words on the page. Parents and children can become more involved in the storytelling process – naming characters and spotting details.

    Reading a set story again and again can act as a comfort for small children. But taking away this story can have benefits too.

    A study by the University of Waterloo in Canada has shown that wordless picture books can increase toddlers’ vocabulary more than traditional picture books. The study gave twenty-five mothers two books to read to their toddlers. One book had words; the other didn’t. The mothers tended to use more complex language when ‘reading’ the book without words. They described objects in more detail and related them to real life experiences.

    Take this scene from Gerda Muller’s Spring. Muller’s wordless Seasons board books have been loved for over twenty years. They feature uniquely detailed illustrations of the four seasons and the different ways they can be enjoyed.

    Wordless picture books - Gerda Muller Summer spread

    Children and parents can create their own stories and relate to their own experiences. Are the children on holiday, or do they live by the seaside? Is the oldest girl playing with her baby sister, cousin or a new friend? In the distance, do the children spot a boat, a dinghy or a yacht?

    The children could even spot un bateau or un voilier. Muller adopted France as her home in the 1950s, so you can find many of her books in French. But without the confinement of words, children from anywhere in the world can pick up the Seasons books and tell their story in their own language.

    Wordless picture books also take away the concept of words that are ‘too easy’ or ‘too difficult’ for different age groups. Through the Seasons brings together artwork from Australian artist Sarah Laidlaw, inspired by time spent with her own family in the Yarra Valley, in the state of Victoria. Laidlaw’s soft, colourful scenes can be enjoyed by children of any age.

    Wordless picture books - Through the Seasons spread

    In this springtime illustration, very young children can appreciate Laidlaw’s soft, colourful scenes. They can practice their growing vocabulary by spotting the girl, boy and birds. Older children can create a narrative about the family and their time in the garden, or even speculate on the name of the lamb!

    We often say that books fuel the imagination. So, what happens if you take away the restriction of a set story? Why don’t you find out with your own wordless picture books?

    Check out this post for some helpful tips on sharing wordless picture books.

    Worldless Picture Books from Floris





    Let us know what you think about wordless board books! You can find us @FlorisBooks on Facebook, Twitter on Instagram.


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