Gem, Holly Hobbie, wordless picture book, wordless picture books with frogs or toads

2 Wordless Picture Books GIVEAWAYS and How to Read Them

Best Books for Kids to Boost Creativity

I know that I sound like a moron but exactly how does one “read” a wordless picture book? I’m the kind of person that needs detailed instructions so I thought I’d research it because this whole concept of wordless picture book is newish to me. I didn’t grow up with these but my kids and I have enjoyed a stack of them. Perhaps, though, flipping the pages like a slow-motion flip book is not the way to go.

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Tuesday by David Weisner

We did the other extreme with actually writing out words into the book too. It felt a little wrong to be writing on the pages though, like we were marring the gorgeous art work of Wave by Suzy Lee.

It seems appropriate that I apply some principles of yoga to wordless picture books, having just completed the final class of the school year with my friend Bea Abascal who has taught me Vinyasa Yoga now for five years.

Slow Down

It seems like I am always racing these days and sometimes bedtime stories are a rushed affair. Wordless picture books invite us to slow down. Savor the book. Drink it in. Take a load off and stay a while.

Let’s start by looking at the cover. Do you like it? What do you like or dislike about it? What do you think the story is about?

Make New Friends

Have you ever been in a really crowded yoga class such that when you are in certain positions like a spinal twist, you accidentally tap your neighbor (and then you cringe if you think your foot is a smelly!). Our yoga instructor will always use this moment to make new friends.
In that spirit, let’s open the book and meet some new friends. Hmm… who are they and what kind of mood are they in?
Be Mindful
As we turn the pages, let’s try to notice small details. What do you think is happening? And why?
Tomorrow is the Child of Today
Let’s predict! What will happen next? How do you think it’s going to end? What do you want the ending to be?

Stay in the Moment

This is reminder that I need on a daily. Enjoy this time together. Breathe it all in. A story is not just a story but a time to snuggle up together because, before you know, your child is reading Young Adult novels independently and there then he or she is practically out the house! In fact, why not read it again?!

I received two new wordless picture books that we enjoyed and we hope you enjoy them too (snuggled up in a cozy spot together!).

Best Books for Beginning Readers – Wordless Picture Books

Gem by Holly Hobbie

Look carefully. There may be a gem in your garden.

For nearly four decades, watercolorist Holly Hobbie has drawn inspiration from the wonders of nature. During one especially hard winter, she found herself imagining the story of a determined toad’s spring journey. Her vivid depiction of this endearing creature’s glorious yet fragile world is a sparkling celebration of survival and renewal. From the muddy brown road outside a farmhouse to the sweet-smelling garden to the cool lily pads in the pond, readers will feel their senses rejuvenated by Holly Hobbie’s gemlike, detailed paintings in this nearly wordless work.
This book was conceived as a celebration of spring after a particularly harsh winter. I can relate to that, living in the Northeast! Gem is toad with a lot of personality who goes on a little adventure — not too scary but scary enough — that is perfect for kids! For more fun with frogs and toads, I have a post here.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jerry Pickney

One of the most acclaimed children’s book illustrators of our time now takes his legendary skill with watercolor to new heights in this lavish visual adventure. As a curious little chipmunk leaves his nest to greet the twilight, he gazes at the glittering sky above him. He can’t help but also notice the sparkling dewdrops on a spider’s web, the lights of the fireflies, and the shimmers of moonlight on the water. “How I wonder what you are!” marvels the tiny creature, launching a dreamlike quest to reach for the stars.

Inspired by one of our most popular children’s lullabies, Jerry Pinkney’s gentle world–where the loving arms of nature embrace us despite darkness or uncertainty–is perfect for easing little ones into dreamland.

Both of these wordless picture books have gorgeous watercolor illustrations so it’s hard to play favorites. That being said, I wish I could paint like Jerry Pickney because there is a looseness to his watercolors that make the painting particularly vibrant.

In this picture book, he takes the classic nursery rhyme song and turns it into an adventure for a chipmunk who ventures out of his (or her, I suppose) nest and somehow gets launched into the night sky on a a sail boat (see cover), then back down to earth into a pond, and then back up again on the back of a swan. And there are more amphibians in the pond … and do you suppose that it’s GEM from Holly Hobbie’s book? It could be! And certainly worth investigating!

p.s. Here’s a final coincidence: Tuesday has frogs too! What do you think is going on? I don’t know but I am sure that your child has a plausible explanation!

p.p.s. Here’s my list of Top 10 Best  Wordless Picture Books.


Congrats to Artchoo and Ann for winning the wordless picture books!

To examine any wordless picture book at Amazon, please click on image of book.


By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. vanita

    i don’t remember wordless picture books at all. not even when the teens were little…kind of like a silent movie… but i can see your point where they are perfect for sparking imaginations…
    Are your girls still at a good age to enjoy them? have they made up stories for them? i think it’s brilliant.
    vanita recently posted…Secret Mommy-hood Confession Saturday #2My Profile

  2. Ann

    I am definitely wordless picture book challenged (probably is because I am rushing) but am drawn to many because of the beautiful illustrations. Holly Hobbie is an amazing artist and so is Jerry Pickney! I would love to win one of these! Although ever since you told us about writing your own words in Wave, I have wanted to do that! So if I win, we might try that. Another thing I started doing is letting my son “read” the ones we get from the library that are wordless since he can’t read yet (he love it). BTW, I subscribed! Great idea!!!
    Ann recently posted…The Letter RMy Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      You are entered to win and I hope you do so that you might share what you write in the wordless picture book (though it feels weird to write in a book!).

  3. Artchoo

    I think it’s great that you delved into the whole “how do you read these things to kids” question. We switch up the way we read wordless picture books, but there are ALWAYS plenty of sound effects.
    Artchoo recently posted…Glue Block PrintsMy Profile

    • Hi Artchoo,
      You MUST share how you read a wordless picture book (with sound track included). I think your way is a really great way and that my kids would prefer your way over mine! You are entered to win too!

  4. I remember books that just have pictures and lots of color for babies to look at to learn shapes or colors. These are great for young children. Most of the ones I have seen are those hard pages that kids usually put in their mouth. haha

    I just signed up to receive your newsletters. I am a recently published children’s book author. I am writing books for blended families and hope to help families get through the tough times of being in a blended family.

    Seeing authors like you are very inspiring.

    • Hi Blended Books,
      How exciting to become a new author! Congrats! I think it’s a great idea to create books for blended families since there are so many these days. You are entered to win and thank you for signing up for my newsletters!!

  5. Krista

    Wave, by Suzy Lee is one of my top favorite wordless books! I haven’t read these other two you have here. I work at the Children’s Desk of my public library, so we should have them and I will check them out!

    I love the tips you have here. I think wordless books are terrific for pre-readers, and for kids who are older and learning to write, as it allows them to make up their own stories.
    Krista recently posted…Sketchbook InspirationMy Profile

    • Hi Krista,
      How fun to work at the Children’s Desk of your library! Yes, I think all the wordless picture books on both lists should be at your library or through your library network. You are entered to win.

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