(Nearly) Wordless Picture Books to Share from Bookstart Bear

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Baby Bookstart Bear reading a book

Sharing picture books with children is a wonderful way to bond, spend quiet time together and introduce your little ones to the big world beyond your arms.  The stories can be funny, informative and comforting and the illustrations help guide the child through the book, encouraging them to work out the words for themselves.  But what do you do when there are no words; or just one or two?

The following books are some of my favourite (nearly) wordless picture books.  They offer you and your child an opportunity to ask questions about what the pictures are showing and, using imagination and creativity, develop your child’s own stories and ideas.  They are great for developing empathy and can be enjoyed by everyone – especially useful for people who are not confident readers or for those who don’t have English as their home language.


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Stick! – Andy Pritchett

This delightful book about fun and friendship only uses six different words, but it is very clear what is happening.  The backgrounds are all very simple and uncluttered and the story makes me smile every time I read it.

Some authors have created a range of wordless picture books. You may already be familiar with the board books produced by Helen Oxenbury. If not, you might like to look at these three.

Dressing    book cover

Friends       book cover

Playing       book cover

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Red Sledge – Lita Judge

There are words in this book, but not very many and they are more like guidelines to help you create sound effects.  If you have a young child who has been slow in speaking, encourage them to make the sounds with you.

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Clown – Quentin Blake

I know that some children find clowns a bit creepy – and so do some grown-ups – but this book might help to change that.  It starts as a sad story, but develops into a tale full of friendship and hope.

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Archie – Domenica More Gordon

Archie is a very enterprising dog. The busier he gets, the more words appear on the page, but they are all single words, not sentences. Word of Archie’s talents spread – who do you think will be his most important customer?

Another author who specialises in wordless picture books is Alison Jay.  There are no words at al in her books, unless they are on sign.  Each page takes you a step further through the story.  The pictures are bright and busy, but very clear and often amusing.  At the end of each book you will find some pages of information or suggestions to help expand a message from the pictures.  Try these three and, if you like them, look for more of her titles on the library catalogue.

Bee – & – Me                 book cover

Out of the Blue             book cover

Welcome to the Zoo     book cover

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Mr Wuffles – David Weisner

I have to confess that this is one of my favourite picture books of all time. It contains, cats, aliens and insects and, although words are used, only one of the characters speaks English. The other languages are truly alien. It is an exciting story and great fun, especially for slightly older children.

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Moonlight – Jan Ormerod

I’m ending this collection with a beautiful book about a family’s evening and how they prepare for bed. I’m certain the images will strike a chord with many a tired parent, but it is also useful for promoting discussions about bed time with your young child.

If you have a favourite wordless (or nearly wordless) picture book for young children, please let us know in the comments.  We’d love to get some new ideas.

Summer Reading Challenge inspiration…

Our top 10 Summer Reading Challenge books so far…

  1. The first hippo on the moon by David Walliams

  2. The giraffe and the pelly and me by Roald Dahl

  3. The magic finger by Roald Dahl

  4. Dirty beasts by Roald Dahl

  5. Ten little dinosaurs by Mike Brownlow & Simon Rickerty

  6. The BFG by Roald Dahl

  7. The paper dolls by Julia Donaldson

  8. Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

  9. What the ladybird heard next by Julia Donaldson

  10. The Twits by Roald Dahl

Design our new Children’s Library Card

It’s time to get creative!

We’re inviting all Summer Reading Challenge finishers to help us design our new children’s library card.

This year, when you’ve finished the Summer Reading Challenge you have the chance to submit your own design using our exclusive entry form you can pick up from any Hampshire Library along with your medal and certificate.

We have 2 age groups for the competition, 4-7’s and 8-11’s, and there will be a runner up and winner from each age group. Amazing prizes are up for grabs, including a Raspberry Pi, a 3Doodler, and a Kindle Kids edition, but the best prize of all is the winning designs will be made into our brand new library cards!

Your design can be anything you want, there are no limits to what you can create, just draw and colour in the template on the entry form and either post it to us, or snap a photo and email that to us.

The closing date for the competition is the 30 September and we’ll announce the winners before the 31 October so keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook & Twitter pages.

If you haven’t signed up to the Summer Reading Challenge yet, there’s still plenty of time, it runs all summer until 18 September.

We can’t wait to see all your amazing entries! Good luck!