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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Speechless: The Art of Wordless Picture Books

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art / Amherst / Art

When it comes to language, children’s picture books tend to be minimalist. Sometimes they dispense with words altogether. When that happens, the author-illustrator must rely on approaches subtly or not so subtly conceptual—manipulations of time and space, use of abstraction, visual tricks. The first wordless picture book for children was created by Ruth Carroll, says the curator of this exhibition, David Wiesner. It was published in 1932 and America didn’t see another such book until 30 years later. Focusing on 22 titles, and presenting illustrations, preparatory sketches, and book dummies, Wiesner explores the 90-year history of graphic storytelling for children. —L.J.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA 01002
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