Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tuesday (Picture Book 5/6)

David Wiesner, author and illustrator
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Sandpiper (August 18, 1997)
Winner: Randolph Caldecott Medal, 1992.
Category: Picture Storybook/wordless/fantasy.
Style: Surrealism/realism/Impressionism
Media: Watercolor on Arches paper.

5/5 stars

In Tuesday, Wiesner tells the humorous story of a group of frogs on a Tuesday evening.  They are delighted when their lily pads suddenly begin to fly them around the countryside and nearby town.  The frogs are seen by shocked animals and people, and are quite disappointed when their new found magic stops and they return to sitting in the pond.  Wiesner uses very few words, and those only to tell the time of day, relying on his art to tell the story.

Wiesner’s painting style is dreamy and soft, incorporating elements of the  Impressionist style: soft lines, gentle colors, faded backgrounds.  His anatomy (animal and human, alike) is realistic, as is the architecture and flora.   Encompassing both those styles, however, is the surrealism of the story he is telling.  The expressions on the various frog faces are especially delightful.  The colors he uses clearly denote the time of day: blues and purples at night, with yellows and whites becoming more prominent as day breaks.   He uses a variety of layouts: panels inside full page illustrations,  double page illustrations that cross the gutter, and single page illustrations.

Tuesday  is certainly appropriate for the intended age group.  A preschooler would be able to “read” this story to herself, thanks to Wiesner’s explicit expressions and easy-to-follow sequence of events.  For any age group, this book could be used to start a conversation about fantasy and reality.  It could also be used to work on the skills of memory, sequencing and retelling. 

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