Skunk on a String
by Thao Lam
40 pages; ages 4-7
Owlkids Books, 2016
theme: imagination, adventure, animal tale
It's really hard to begin with opening lines from a wordless book, so I'll begin with the first lines from the jacket blurb:
It's a Bird!
It's a Plane!
It's a ... Skunk??
This is a tale of adventure and intrigue that begins when a hapless skunk finds himself tied to the string of a balloon. Perhaps he was watching the parade, or perhaps he wanted to join in... but he finds himself floating up, up, and away. Past apartments and construction sites, through the zoo, into traffic, under water until - finally - he lands on the tip top of a Ferris wheel. When he unties himself he realizes that he misses flying.
What I like about this book: Usually I avoid wordless books, but this one caught me by surprise. I think it's the art: gorgeous collage work using textured papers in a variety of dots and stripes and florals. The illustrations are a visual feast, and one can spend a lot of time exploring details. The other thing I like: the story is so well told by the artwork that you don't need to struggle to say what's going on.
Beyond the book:
Check out the book trailer- it's a lot of fun.
Imagine a balloon ride. If you grabbed on to the string of a balloon and went floating up, up, up, where would you go? What would you see? Make a map or draw a picture to show your adventure.
Play with paper art. Make some collages using different kinds of paper. Maybe you'll want to use papers found in the recycling bin, or bits of wrapping paper too small to be useful. Or maybe you'll want to buy some patterned origami or scrapbook paper for your picture. Think about ways to add texture: handmade papers, corrugated cardboard, sandpaper, patterned duct tape... Have fun and create art to tell a story from your own adventure.