Friday, September 3, 2010

David Wiesner Essay

David Wiesner Essay

David Wiesner is one of today’s most renowned children picture book author/illustrators. He has won numerous awards in this field.

For most of his formative years, the last images David Wiesner saw before closing his eyes at night were the books, rockets, elephant heads, clocks, and magnifying glasses decorating the wallpaper of his room. Perhaps this decor awakened his creativity and gave it the qualities that are so often cited when describing his work: dreamlike and imaginative.

As a child growing up in suburban New Jersey, Wiesner recreated his world daily in his imagination. His home and his neighborhood became anything from a faraway planet to a prehistoric jungle.

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David Wiesner is a very artistic author. His love for art is portrayed through his style of work. When flipping through the pages of his books, the reader is immediately drawn to the pictures. A particular style that Wiesner is known for is wordless picture books. A wordless picture book is exactly what it says; it is a book containing only pictures. A child can benefit tremendously from this style of book. Wordless picture books stimulate creativity and language; while at the same time introduce a child to basic principles of books and reading. Sector 7 and Free Fall are two of the well-known picture books that Wiesner has done.

Many of Wiesner’s themes deal with the sky and this book is no exception. Sector 7 is an excellent example of this particular style of work. From the very first page, a child’s attention is grabbed and kept through every page of the book. As the reader glances at his pictures, their imagination begins to soar. With no words, one is left to simply imagine what is going on. The lack of words allows the reader to view the picture with absolutely no intended meaning. The colors of the pictures also help to expand one’s imagination. Certain feelings and thoughts may be associated with certain colors.

David Wiesner has a fascination with flying. In the seven books that he has written and illustrated he has dealt extensively with using your imagination to picture unusual objects flying through the air. Wiesner himself has said, "One of the places my imagination takes me visually is into the air" (Amazon.com). Wiesner’s interest in flying has resulted in several soaring stories.

In Tuesday, the entire book is made up of flying frogs. The frogs are flying through homes, chasing dogs, and watching television, all from the safety of their airborne lily pads. Most people wouldn’t expect to see flying frogs but for Wiesner "There has always been something compelling about things flying, floating, levitating—especially when these things don’t normally do so" (Amazon.com). Wiesner allows the readers imagination to fly away in Tuesday by providing unusual objects the ability to fly through the air. The frog’s nighttime flying adventure wreaks havoc over an unsuspecting community, and provides the reader with a fun and imaginative story.

Throughout June 29, 1999 the reader will find vegetables flying through the air. In June 29, 1999 Holly, the main character, begins an experiment with flying vegetables. Holly soon gets the surprise of her life as the vegetables grow very large and start landing in people’s backyards. Eventually, the vegetables land and the states begin to incorporate the huge vegetables into the daily lives. People begin to live in pumpkins and have tree houses out of broccoli. Although the reader knows these things would never happen, Wiesner’s story has them wondering what they would do if a head of flying lettuce landed in their backyard.

Wiesner’s unique blend of illustration and imagination allows the reader to escape to a world were frogs really do fly, vegetables float through the air, and clouds become exotic shapes. For Wiesner flying is one part of his imagination that fascinates him and allows him to provide wonderfully aloft fantasies for children.

Imagination and creativity are limitless when reading this type of book. There are endless stories and outcomes for each story or book. Each person reads the book differently. There is not one correct interpretation, which allows children to be as creative as they want to be.

Language can also be developed through this style of writing. Without words on the page, it is up to the reader to decide what is being said. The reader is given the chance to verbally add his or her own words. This tremendously helps with language and vocabulary. The reader begins to create thought that have a beginning and an end. One is able to enhance their vocabulary by seeing things that they may not have seen before.

Through a wordless picture book, a child is introduced to the basic principles of a book. One of these principles is the way in which books are read. Wordless picture books “...can accustom them to the left-to-right pattern of reading...” (Sutherland 84). The reader “reads” the pictures from the left page to the right. In Sector 7, many of the pages have multiple pictures on them. The successive pictures are stacked on top of each other. This may help the child learn that he or she is to read from top to bottom, along with left to right.

The sequence of pictures throughout the book is also important. This allows children to learn that books have story lines. The reader learns that every story has a beginning or introduction. Each picture builds upon the last and are all connected. The reader is able to relate each picture to the last and anticipate what is coming. They also learn that stories do not go on forever. Eventually, the story comes to an end or conclusion. The sequence of pictures helps the reader learn the development of a book.


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