The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher (英語) ペーパーバック – 1996/5/1
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In this story without words, an old woman is pursued by a strange man with a passion for strawberries.
Publishers Weekly The award-winning artist has conceived and realized an extraordinary picture book. Bang's illustrations are unparalleled in effects, full-color paintings and collages in which the surrealistic and the representational combine to tell a story without words.
ALA Booklist This wordless picture book depends on eerie art and high drama for holding its scrutinizers, and they will be held.
There are no words, so the parent and then the child tell the story from the pictures. Every time I give it to one of my grandchildren's friend's baby they are entranced to look at it one more time Every time I give it, I order another copy to have ready.
This camouflage, of course, is how she evades the strawberry snatcher, by leading him astray into a blackberry bush where he can munch without bothering her.
I like this book, but it may be a little harder for smaller children to follow just because of the oddity of the illustrations.
Some people object to wordless picture books on principle, because they are unfamiliar with them. This is what I have to say to that:
Wordless picture books are PERFECT for pre-readers. It gives them the ability to read a book - REALLY own the experience instead of just "playing" as they must do when they can't understand the words - on their own. It gives them practice in putting together stories and working out details from context. And it allows them to be the expert at some activity that is usually restricted to adults and older children in their life - reading a book.
By that same token, they are also ideal for early readers. It's non-threatening, and yet it's still a way to practice following a storyline. Reading is more than just mechanically putting together sounds and reciting them, after all. Many people are impressed by a five year old who can say, word-perfect, some complex piece he or she "reads" from a page, but later they find out that the child has no idea what they just read and wasn't thinking of reading as an exercise in gleaning meaning from text, but merely as reciting memorized sounds and letter combinations. Working out the story for themselves from a book with no words is a wonderful way to practice this sort of "reading for meaning".
But what of the child who stumbles in reading? Well, the child who stumbles when reading but can tell you WHAT they read is light-years ahead of the one who sounds pretty but doesn't grasp the meaning. At any rate, this child is still getting much needed practice in the conventions of reading without the letters to stress and trip them up.
Of course, you don't want the only book in your house to be a wordless picture book, I understand that, because children do need print to practice reading, but a few are a WONDERFUL thing for a child. And who has just one book, anyway?
My bibliophobic son fell in love with it immediately. He laughed and laughed and wanted to "read it to me" dozens of times with sound effects and commentary added. He found things in it I had not spotted--such as, did you know that the Strawberry Snatcher leaves a mushroom trail? I bought this book for Alex's Christmas present and have noticed that it also has special appeal to my smaller "kinesthetic" and mechanical children who are compelled to get their mitts on something.
A unique treasure--buy it for your little squirmy bibliophobes!