Flotsam
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Flotsam

4.4 31
by David Wiesner
     
 

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A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . .… See more details below

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Overview


A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.

Each of David Wiesner's amazing picture books has revealed the magical possibilities of some ordinary thing or happening--a frog on a lily pad, a trip to the Empire State Building, a well-known nursery tale. In this Caldecott Medal winner, a day at the beach is the springboard into a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep, and of the qualities that enable us to witness these wonders and delight in them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Wiesner offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion." Publishers Weekly, Starred

"A mind-bending journey of imagination." School Library Journal, Starred

"In Wiesner's much-honored style, the paintings are cinematic, coolly restrained and deliberate...An invitation not to be resisted." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Wiesner's detailed watercolors make the absurd wonderfully believable...and children will surely love 'Flotsam' from start to finish." New York Times Book Review Notable Book

"The meticulous and rich detail of Wiesner's watercolors makes the fantasy involving and convincing." Horn Book

"Wiesner continues to show children that things aren't always what they seem. Would the Caldecott committee consider a three-peat?" Bookpage

"Wiesner returns with his traditional wordless-narrative format for another fantastical outing." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Though wordless, this intriguing book is a storytelling marvel. With stunning, meticulously painted watercolors, award-winning Wiesner tells the fanciful tale of a young boy who discovers an old-fashioned camera washed up on the beach. The developed film reveals fantastical underwater shots, including octopi reading in armchairs and elaborate cities built of seashells. Children will savor the magic of this surreal underwater world and the book's mind-bending conclusion. (Ages 4 to 6)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Publishers Weekly
Two-time Caldecott winner Wiesner (Tuesday; The Three Pigs) crafts another wordless mystery, this one set on an ordinary beach and under an enchanted sea. A saucerlike fish's eye stares from the exact center of the dust jacket, and the fish's scarlet skin provides a knockout background color. First-timers might not notice what's reflected in its eye, but return visitors will: it's a boxy camera, drifting underwater with a school of slim green fish. In the opening panels, Wiesner pictures another close-up eye, this one belonging to a blond boy viewing a crab through a magnifying glass. Visual devices binoculars and a microscope in a plastic bag rest on a nearby beach towel, suggesting the boy's optical curiosity. After being tossed by a wave, the studious boy finds a barnacle-covered apparatus on the sand (evocatively labeled the "Melville Underwater Camera"). He removes its roll of film and, when he gets the results, readers see another close-up of his wide-open, astonished eye: the photos depict bizarre undersea scenes (nautilus shells with cutout windows, walking starfish-islands, octopi in their living room la Tuesday's frogs). A lesser fantasist would end the story here, but Wiesner provides a further surprise that connects the curious boy with others like him. Masterfully altering the pace with panel sequences and full-bleed spreads, he fills every inch of the pages with intricate, imaginative watercolor details. New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
A budding young scientist has brought his magnifying glass, binoculars, and microscope to the beach. As his parents relax, he begins to explore even before the title page. On the double-spread title page is an exhibition of some of the flotsam to be found. Then the wordless story of his investigations begins. We are sucked in immediately by Wiesner's photorealistic images and the fashion in which they are presented. Double-page scenes show us the sweep of the ocean beach. A waterproof camera washes up in front of him, and in several varying sized rectangular scenes we see his vain attempts to discover the owner. A trip to the photo shop with the roll of film produces for him scenes of magical underwater life. There is also a photo of a young girl holding a packet of photos of other youngsters. Puzzling over this leads to examination under the magnifying glass and eventually the microscope. There he moves to further and further magnification of the pictures inside the pictures each child is holding, as the magnification rises to 70x and the scenes go back in time. Our hero thinks, then takes his own picture with the camera holding the other photos, and returns the camera to the undersea world. Finally it is washed ashore where a young girl reaches toward it, and the tale can go on. Mystery and humor combine in the watercolors that fascinate and stimulate further imagination. Note the different jacket and cover.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-A wave deposits an old-fashioned contraption at the feet of an inquisitive young beachcomber. It's a "Melville underwater camera," and the excited boy quickly develops the film he finds inside. The photos are amazing: a windup fish, with intricate gears and screwed-on panels, appears in a school with its living counterparts; a fully inflated puffer, outfitted as a hot-air balloon, sails above the water; miniature green aliens kowtow to dour-faced sea horses; and more. The last print depicts a girl, holding a photo of a boy, and so on. As the images become smaller, the protagonist views them through his magnifying glass and then his microscope. The chain of children continues back through time, ending with a sepia image of a turn-of-the-20th-century boy waving from a beach. After photographing himself holding the print, the youngster tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it makes its way to its next recipient. This wordless book's vivid watercolor paintings have a crisp realism that anchors the elements of fantasy. Shifting perspectives, from close-ups to landscape views, and a layout incorporating broad spreads and boxed sequences, add drama and motion to the storytelling and echo the photographic theme. Filled with inventive details and delightful twists, each snapshot is a tale waiting to be told. Pair this visual adventure with Wiesner's other works, Chris Van Allsburg's titles, or Barbara Lehman's The Red Book (Houghton, 2004) for a mind-bending journey of imagination.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From arguably the most inventive and cerebral visual storyteller in children's literature, comes a wordless invitation to drift with the tide, with the story, with your eyes, with your imagination. A boy at the beach picks up a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera. He develops the film, which produces, first, pictures of a surreal undersea world filled with extraordinary details (i.e., giant starfish bestride the sea carrying mountainous islands on their backs), and then a portrait of a girl holding a picture of a boy holding a picture of another boy . . . and so on . . . and on. Finally, the boy needs a microscope to reveal portraits of children going back in time to a sepia portrait of a turn-of-the-century lad in knickers. The boy adds his own self-portrait to the others, casts the camera back into the waves, and it is carried by a sea creature back to its fantastic depths to be returned as flotsam for another child to find. In Wiesner's much-honored style, the paintings are cinematic, coolly restrained and deliberate, beguiling in their sibylline images and limned with symbolic allusions. An invitation not to be resisted. (Picture book. 6-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618194575
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/04/2006
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
84,629
Product dimensions:
11.25(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Wiesner offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion." Publishers Weekly, Starred

"A mind-bending journey of imagination." School Library Journal, Starred

"In Wiesner's much-honored style, the paintings are cinematic, coolly restrained and deliberate...An invitation not to be resisted." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Wiesner's detailed watercolors make the absurd wonderfully believable...and children will surely love 'Flotsam' from start to finish." New York Times Book Review Notable Book

"The meticulous and rich detail of Wiesner's watercolors makes the fantasy involving and convincing." Horn Book

"Wiesner continues to show children that things aren't always what they seem. Would the Caldecott committee consider a three-peat?" Bookpage

"Wiesner returns with his traditional wordless-narrative format for another fantastical outing." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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