We hardly encounter wordless picture books for children, but when we do, it is so excitingly challenging! Wordless books are boundless in terms of possibilities depending on the readers and the audiences.
When recommending or reviewing wordless books, it is best NOT to define the story in one or two synopses as it will be limiting the different interpretations and possibilities. On another side, wordless books are so “opened” even the young children can tell their versions of the story following the pictures, can name each and every character according to their interpretations and can put the familiar vocabularies in the right context following the pictures in each page. It can even be told in different languages, not necessarily in English.
“Mr. Wuffles” is so special NOT ONLY because it is a nearly-wordless book, but also because it is a sci-fi children’s picturebook. It features a cat, extraterrestrial beings and bugs in a single storyline. It is also packed with adventures and actions. It involves the concepts of trouble-shooting, cooperation, universal language and gesture of friendships.
Because it is (nearly) wordless, it sparks creativity and imagination in terms of storytelling. The story can be pitched differently depending on whether the story is read to younger or older children.
The readers can name the extraterrestrial character as ‘Mr. Alien,’ ‘Greenie’, ‘The Explorer’ or even ‘K-meleon the Alien’ to make it rhyme. Mr. Wuffles is the name of the cat in the book, but of course, the reader has that “room” to give the cat another pet-name and includes it as a part of the story in his/her version of narrative.
Children are introduced to dialogues within the story in the form of speech bubbles. There are different ways of depicting the different languages spoken. The ‘human language’ is written in alphabets, while the ‘extraterrestrial language’ is written in shape-based symbols and the ‘bug language’ is written in dot-based markings.
In terms of illustration, the lines used to draw the pictures are clear and the colours used are vibrant. The format is slightly different from the usual children’s picture book as some pages are drawn in comic strips.
Capella Preschool Team