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Friday, 30 June 2017


Author and Illustrator: David Wiesner
Publisher: Andersen Press, 2012, first published by Clarion Books, 2006

I can't put this book down, and I keep putting off it's inevitable return to the library. It's made it to my 'books to buy' list, and thus to this blog. 
A wordless book that tells a gripping story, this masterpiece of modern children's fiction, nay, art, is captivating. When an inquisitive boy finds a barnacle encrusted and battered old camera washed up on the beach, he runs to a 24 hour reprographics shop to develop the film inside the camera case. To his surprise the photographic film shows a whole underwater world, portrayed by Wiesner in these delightfully surreal watercolours that raised curious eyebrows with my children. The story then takes another inexplicable turn, as the developed photos reveal that the camera has been found many times before, bearing a photo in a photo in a photo. Now determined to add himself for posterity, the boy sets up his old fashioned selfie on the sand, with the waves crashing behind him, ready to reclaim the camera. 

While the story is beautiful, taking many exciting and unexpected twists and turns, the pictures that tell of this enchantment are simply enthralling. Deep, detailed, shadow rich, colour rich, sumptuous. My daughter literally tried to reach into the page to inspect the turtles. 

This is the sort of book that I normally pick up sceptically thinking 'all style and no substance' but with Flotsam, far from it, I was truly taken. The book says a huge amount, wordlessly. Much respect to David Weisner, I'll look out for more books by him. 

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