Wordless picture books have a way of capturing the imagination like no other story. Beautifully illustrated in ink and watercolor, Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson and Sydney Smith shows the simple story of a walk home from shopping. A father and his young daughter begin their walk home outside a downtown bodega. The scene is painted in black and greys except for the young girl who is wearing a bright red hooded coat. The girl is looking around carefully for something, and finally spots it after a block: bright yellow dandelions growing up through the sidewalk. She picks them, and the viewer can see the grey world around her brightens just a little bit. Later on she picks a few stray violets, daises, and then a black-eyed-susan. Her father is distractedly talking on a cell phone when the two approach a park. The little girl finds a bird who has passed on and leaves a few flowers, then more with a man sleeping on a park bench. Slowly, the world around them is coming to life in bright watercolors. They finally reach their suburban home and everything is in bright color in the backyard, which is planted with plenty of flowers for any young budding gardener.
Wordless picture books are a great way to practice critical thinking skills with the young readers in your life, and this picture book certainly deserves a second or third viewing to fully understand the story.
You can get more great titles to watch, read, listen to, or play with at the Port Library at 1718 N. Hersey in Beloit.