I’m a huge fan of wordless (or nearly wordless) picture books for one big reason: you can read them to your child in whatever language strikes your fancy. Unlike books in English or Slovak, I don’t have to worry about translating the story. And I can choose how long to make the story last, depending on how much detail I go into in describing the images. My kids really enjoy these books and they love that they can ‘read’ them all by themselves, without having to worry they’re missing a vital part of the narrative in the text. They also like finding new things to talk about on each page, like a funny background detail we hadn’t noticed before.
That being said, Mr. OneDosTres dislikes wordless books–there’s not as much structure to the story and he’s sometimes not sure how to ‘read’ what’s on the page. So they definitely aren’t everyone’s jam. But I encourage you to give them a try! (This post contains affiliate links.)
This is the story of ant-sized aliens who land among Mr. Wuffles’ toys and find themselves the center of his attention. They are forced to leave their ship and encounter house bugs, with whom they work to outsmart the cat. What I most love about this book is how the story changes depending on who I read it to–E loves it because it’s about a bored and playful cat, while N loves it because it involves aliens working together with insects to outwit a common threat.
Quest is the follow up book to Aaron Becker’s 2014 Caldecott Honor Book, Journey, and is a great way to jumpstart your child’s imagination. It features two young children who are caught in the rain and while seeking shelter under a bridge they encounter a ruler who seeks their help in freeing his land. Throughout the story, the kids use chalk to draw animals and equipment to help them in their mission. N loves guessing what they are going to draw next (and he finds it hilarious when I guess incorrectly).
I love this classic, in part because the images are so simple and so rich. My kids love spotting the shadows of people at home observing the animals going to and from the zookeeper’s house. We can spend minutes at a time hunting the balloon that floats further and further away as the book progresses. And they love the revelation that the picture next to the zookeeper’s nightstand is of the zookeeper, his wife, and the gorilla. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go check your copy and see for yourself!)
The Snowman is a great winter book (as if I hadn’t already revealed that I’m a bit of a loon when it comes to kids’ books, I also categorize our books based on seasons, holidays and what we’re doing, and rotate them depending on the time of year). You may have read this one growing up, but in Puerto Rico we didn’t have much cause for snow books, so this was new to me as an adult. When I first read it I got a serious comic book vibe and N loves, loves, loves it.
The entire Carl series by Alexandra Day is really delightful. Carl often functions as the mischievous canine babysitter to a young child and gets into all sorts of wholesome antics. I remember being read these books as a child, reading them to my little sister, and now enjoy reading them to N and E. And, like the books above, these stories have minimal text allowing the reader to make the story as long or as short as you like in any language you choose.