I have “read” plenty of wordless picture books, as well as a number of nearly wordless picture books. Recently, I had the privilege of reading Shutta Crum and Patrice Barton’s adorable picture book Mine. This adorable title features only one word: Mine (well, okay, the dog says “Woof” at one point, but I don’t know if that counts.) The word mine is said as a matter-of-fact statement, an upset protest, and a happy exclamation, with the word’s emotional content changing through the size of the text as well as varying the punctuation. Patrice Barton’s illustrations are adorable, and the message is clear as these two tots learn that sharing is much more fun than being selfish. After reading this book, I tried to remember other “one word” picture books, or possibly two words, as this one does have that Woof, after all.
Arthur Geisert’s Oink is the only one I can come up with with only a single word. The word is Oink, of course, but the emotional content of the word ranges from calm to excited to nervous to angry.
Jez Alborough’s Hug almost features just one word (Hug), but ends up with three words when you count “Mommy” and “Bobo.” Still, it has the same quality of the previous two, using the same word to evoke different feelings. The use of Hug evokes excitement, worry, great upset, and even joy as Bobo looks for Mommy and a hug. And finally, Jeanette Winter’s Mama uses two words – Mama and Baby – to express emotional content.
I am still on the lookout for more of these “one word” picture books in which the meaning of the word changes through font size or the use of punctuation. Suggestions and recommendations are always welcome!