Category Archives: photography

Say “Cheese!”

Flotsam Flotsam by David Wiesner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was in love with this book as soon as I laid eyes on it.

The book is about a curious boy who is at the beach with his family when he discovers an old underwater box camera washed up on the shore. He then examines it and takes it to the local one-hour photo lab where he gets the old 120mm film developed. The pictures he gets back are unbelievably fantastic. He also discovers a tradition linked with the camera that he takes part in. After sharing in the magic of the camera, he then returns it to the ocean. The story ends in a little girl in a different part of the world finding the camera.

First of all, I have to explain that I love photography, especially old film cameras that I sort of collect. I’m always looking for picture books that include photography of some sort and so this book was love at first sight. Not only does this book focus on photography, but it gives the camera a magical, time-enduring, and dream-like feel.

I also love the fact that the story is wordless. It really demonstrates the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The story flawless flows without words and yet contains an infinite amount of detail on each picture that could keep someone looking at a single page for a long time and still find new details to discuss. Teachers of any grade level could use this book and have students write their own story based on the pictures. Only the complexity of the stories differing between grade level.

The more subtle themes and ideas contained the the story are also worth mentioning. The boy in the story is exploring his world from even before the title page. That interest in the world around you is a great idea to instill in others. He also is very respectful. When finding the camera, he makes sure that it didn’t belong to anyone else on the beach by even going to the life guard. After discovering the tradition of the camera, he decides to keep it going instead of being selfish and keeping the camera. The story is full of discovery, responsibility, magic, tradition, and ultimately hope. I love it!

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