David Wiesner

It is unusual to see picture books by such a talented artist. There are some others, but most of the great illustrators do not create the stories. Wiesner's attention to detail is tremendous, and so is his originality and sense of humor. It is wonderful to see all of the important things come together in his works.

The One Bad Thing About Birthdays with David R. Collins
beginner book. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: NY, 1981. *no review yet

The Loathsome Dragon retold by David Wiesner and Kim Kahng. Putnam: 1987 *no review yet

Free Fall: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books/William Morrow & Company: NY, 1988.
Caldecott Honor 1989

Not many picture book illustrators are so successful in capturing a whole story as Wiesner is. He has taken M. C. Escher's concept of tessellations, brought them close up, and made them real. He blends reality and fantasy with a remarkable effect. Then it all turns out to be a dream after all, influenced by objects in the boy's room. Every picture is a work of art by itself-and also a possible story starter for creative writing. It is also an excellent book to use for art lessons. A book to pour over again and again noticing new details every time. The artwork is amazing and delightful. One of the best picture books I've seen.

I did some research on the book and author because my husband said he saw something similar in an old comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland. The comic has adventures in dream lands, but other than that it didn't seem closely related to me. I checked other reviews and was surprised no one mentioned M. C. Escher. However, I did see a very negative review. The review said that young children wouldn't see the logic connecting the pictures and that it would not appeal to older children. I disagree with both points. Young children are often not given credit for their ability to understand. If they look closely (as young children do), they can understand. Also, if adults can be excited about picture books (as many parents, teachers, and librarians can confirm), then the book can appeal to older children. Excellent picture books are enjoyable for all ages.
related-stories without words, tessellations, dreams, M. C. Escher, art
RL=PreK and up

Hurricane: Clarion Books: NY, 1990.

A hurricane uproots a tree next door to two boys, and the tree becomes their playground. The first half is about the storm. The other half is a magical experience full of their adventures. More realistic than Wiesner's other books, it has only a glimpse of his imaginative adventures.
related-hurricanes, brothers, imagination, adventures

Tuesday: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Company: NY, 1991.
Caldecott Award 1992

Again Wiesner's illustrations are works of art. The idea of the frogs out for a night on the town is hilarious. The nuances in the pictures are delightful-the frogs caught in the laundry, the dog chase, frogs zooming on lily pads, the detective wondering about the lily pads in the street. It is amazing how much can be told without words.
related-frogs, fantasy, stories without words, humorous stories
RL=all ages

June 29, 1999: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Company: NY, 1992.

A girl adds her own unique touch to her school science experiment. To the reader it looks as if her seedlings are an unprecedented success-success beyond her wildest dreams-until the final twist of the story.

Wiesner demonstrates his wonderful sense of humor. It is a book to look at again and again to catch every detail.
RL=2nd-3rd   **read aloud to toddlers and up

Sector 7: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Company: NY, 1999.
Caldecott Honor 2000

On a trip to the Empire State Building, a boy befriends a cloud, and the cloud takes him to visit the cloud-making facility. The clouds want to be formulated into more creative shapes instead of blobs. There are some nice details in the book, and it is an interesting concept. But it isn't one of my favorites.

The Three Pigs: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Company: NY, 2001.
Caldecott Award 2002

Wiesner lets the pigs control the story in this retelling. After escaping from the wolf, they roam through a gallery of stories. They use part of their own book as a paper airplane, enter other stories, and invite their new friends home.

Wiesner uses new concepts and great attention to detail in this engaging tale.
RL=1st-2nd and read aloud to younger

Gonna Roll The Bones by Fritz Leiber. adapted by Wiesner.
ibooks/Milk & Cookies Press: 2005 *no review yet

Flotsam: Clarion Books: NY, 2006. Caldecott Award 2007

David Wiesner is the master of the wordless story. Besides the beauty of his work, he creates one surprise after another in his books. Some of his concepts are loosely tied to the story, but they are fabulous, detailed stories within the story. The robotic fish is a story begging to be told, and the picture within a picture is an excellent variation of the message in a bottle theme.

I think Flotsam is now my favorite of David Wiesner's books. An inquisitive boy finds an underwater camera washed up on the beach. He immediately has the film developed and finds evidence of a wondrous underwater world. Looking closer he sees that many people (from various places and even through time) have shared the discovery through the camera.

There is no text, and yet the more you look at the amazing illustrations, the deeper you are drawn into the story. Little ones especially will see something new every time they open the book.
RL=toddler & up, all ages

Other Books Illustrated by Wiesner
Honest Andrew by Gloria Skurzynski 1980 paperback
Ugly Princess by Nancy Luenn 1981
Neptune Rising: Songs and Tales of the Undersea Folk by Jane Yolen 1982
Miranty and the Alchemist by Vera Chapman 1983
The Dark Green Tunnel Allan W. Eckert 1984
E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet by William Kotzwinkle 1985 paperback
The Wand: The Return to Mesmeria by Allan W. Eckert 1985
The Rainbow People by Laurence Yep 1989
Tongues of Jade by Laurence Yep 1991
Man From the Sky by Avi 1992 paperback
Night of the Gargoyles by Eve Bunting 1994
Owly by Mike Thaler 1998
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper 2004 paperback

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