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But how many other picture books rely on words rather than illustrations to bring meaning to the story? Here's a few picture books about words that I've used:
The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni is about a tree of letters who lived a happy life hopping from leaf to leaf until one windy day when some of them were blown away. With some friendly advice, they realise that if they join together and make words, they can be incredibly powerful.
Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nicola O'Byrne is a very funny book. We like to try and match each page to other books it reminds us of. The story starts as a telling of The Ugly Duckling but something is there that shouldn't be (like The Wrong Book). It's a very large crocodile - a really big scary one! And very soon, he's eating his favourite letters right off the page! My five year old loves this book and like The Book with No Pictures, it's meant to be read aloud.
Perhaps no-one uses different fonts and positions words for greatest effect better than Lauren Child and her book, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? is a perfect example of this. We love this book! It's about a boy called Herb who goes to sleep on a book of fairy tales and falls into the story - straight into the bedroom of the three bears. After running from the shrieking Goldilocks, Herb eventually escapes the book by using the text as a ladder. He grabs hold of the letters, scrabbles up the sentences, stepping on the words to climb out of the book.
Little Red Writing by Joan Holub is another book as you can probably guess that borrows heavily from a well known fairy tale (I love fractured fairy tales as much as alphabet books). In this telling, Little Red along with the rest of her classmates are tasked with writing a story. It's a better book for older students who are more familiar with the different parts of speech as the book includes references to nouns, adjectives, verbs, conjunctions (or their overuse), adverbs. Punctuation, onomatopoeia and sentence structure also get a mention. It's fun comic book layout will also appeal to older readers.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld do funny books really well (remember Duck! Rabbit!) and their book, Exclamation Mark, is another book that uses the features of text well to bring meaning to the story. Perfect for teaching grammar, Exclamation Mark follows the story of ! as he tries very hard to fit in until he realises that he is important. The illustrations are simple but so appealing and humorous especially to readers in the junior school learning about punctuation.
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What other books can you think of that use words as part of the story? I'd love to hear your suggestions.
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