Monday, June 27, 2011

The Umbrella by Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

The Umbrella by Ingrid & Dieter Schubert
Written and Illustrated by Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA (2011)
ISBN-13: 978-1935954002

A curious puppy, a windy day, and a red umbrella are the key ingredients to this charming wordless picture book. Told through beautifully delicate and imaginative watercolor images, the playful adventure story of a spontaneous trip around the world captivates the imagination and invites the audience to give voice to the puppy's silent narrative using their own words.

The double-page spreads are colorful, fun, charming and bursting with life and energy. Each page turn offers a completely new location, environment, and animal scenario for the little black pup's journey. The umbrella becomes not just a flying contraption but a boat, parachute, sled, and even a protective shield when the going gets rough. Without the limitations of words, you can feel free to linger on each page taking in every detail or let the question "Where will he go now?!"propel you eagerly to the next scene.

The Schuberts, a husband and wife team, are clearly having fun dynamically changing perspectives, focal points, and scale, pushing each composition to create an entirely fresh feeling from one environment to another. The result is a fantastic sensation of movement, achieving the feeling of a topsy-turvy adventure ride. The ending is equally intriguing as the begining, showing the puppy returning to the where he began---just in time to pass on the magic of the red umbrella to the next curious adventurer.

If one picture is worth a thousand words, this book offers plenty of stories both told and untold through the illustrations. With books like this, the true fun is in becoming the storyteller yourself. It encourages us to get swept away by our own imagination, asking "Where will WE go next?"


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