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Flotsam

Winner of the 2007 Randolph Caldecott Medal and a New York Times bestseller


About the Book

What secrets lie hidden at the bottom of the ocean?
What fascinating creatures live deep down, where no human can go?
Only the fish know the secret . . . until now.

From "the most inventive and cerebral visual storyteller in children's literature" (Kirkus Reviews) comes a stunning wordless story that invites children and adults alike to stretch their imaginations on a wondrous undersea voyage.

On a seemingly ordinary day at the beach, a budding young scientist makes a fabulous discovery. A barnacle-encrusted underwater camera has washed up on the shore, holding on its reel of film fantastical images that no human eye has seen. Moving cities, an octopus in a lounge chair, a clockwork fish. And yet, there is one more secret, even more astonishing than these surreal scenes: the camera has journeyed not only through the depths of the ocean but through the past, hiding in its last photo a visual timeline of children from around the world.

In each of his amazing picture books, David Wiesner takes the familiar and the ordinary — a trip to the Empire State Building, a well-known nursery tale, a Tuesday evening — and shows us magical possibilities. In Flotsam, a visit to the seashore is a springboard into a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep.

Accept Flotsam's wordless invitation and take a journey you'll never forget.


About the Author

"My books need readers. The beauty of visual storytelling is how interactive my books become. When I create picture books, it isn't just my author's voice telling the story; each reader reads the book in his or her own way. And so there are limitless possibilities within each book — and the stories that emerge belong as much to the reader as they do to me." — David Wiesner

David Wiesner is one of the most beloved and highly acclaimed picture book creators in the world. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and they have won numerous awards, including, most notably, three Caldecott Medals and two Caldecott Honor awards.

As a child growing up in suburban New Jersey, Wiesner re-created his world daily in his imagination. His home and his neighborhood became anything from a faraway planet to a prehistoric jungle.

He went on to become a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he was able to commit himself to the full-time study of art and to explore further his passion for wordless storytelling. He soon discovered that picture books were the perfect medium for his work. "It became clear to me that this is what I love to do, this was the art that I wanted to create," says Wiesner.

He has always been intrigued by and curious about what comes before and after the captured image. His books somehow convey the sequence of thoughts leading up to and following each picture, and that quality explains why they are frequently described as cinematic. Wiesner spends several years working on each new book, becoming completely absorbed in the artistic and creative process. Once published, his books are often included in classroom settings as creative springboards for art, writing, and even drama lessons. In addition, they are used by ESL classes, allowing students to express themselves creatively while being free from the pressures of having to translate words literally.

To date, David Wiesner has illustrated more than twenty award-winning books for young readers. Two of the picture books he both wrote and illustrated became instant classics when they won the prestigious Caldecott Medal: Tuesday in 1992 and The Three Pigs in 2002. Two others, Sector 7 and Free Fall, were named Caldecott Honor Books. An exhibit of Wiesner's original artwork, "Seeing the Story," toured the United States in 2000 and 2001. Among his many honors, Wiesner holds the Japan Picture Book Award for Tuesday, the Prix Sorcières (the French equivalent of the Caldecott Medal) for The Three Pigs, and a 2004 IBBY Honor Book nomination for illustration, also for The Three Pigs. Flotsam, his most recent work, was recently named winner of the 2007 Caldecott Medal, making Wiesner only the second person in the award's long history to have won three times.

Wiesner lives with his family outside Philadelphia, where he continues to create dreamlike and inventive images for books.


Awards and Praise for Flotsam

Winner of the 2007 Randolph Caldecott Medal
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2006
A Booklist Editor's Choice 2006
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2006
A Horn Book Fanfare Title
A Child magazine Best Book of the Year
A Parenting magazine Book of the Year
A Nick Jr. Best Children's Book of 2006
A Book Sense Children's Pick, Autumn 2006
A Washington Post Top 10 Picture Book of the Year
A Parents' Choice Award Winner
A 2006 National Parenting Publications Gold Award Winner
New York Public Library, 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing
Chicago Public Library, Best Books of the Year
An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award Winner 2007

"Wiesner's detailed watercolors make the absurd wonderfully believable, his graphic storytelling sense is sure and swift, and children will surely love Flotsam from start to finish." — New York Times

"A visual treat and test for young imaginations." — USA Today

"Lovely." — Time magazine, "7 Books Kids Will Love"

"New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"From arguably the most inventive and cerebral visual storyteller in children's literature comes a wordless invitation . . . not to be resisted." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Filled with inventive details and delightful twists . . . a mind-bending journey of the imagination." — School Library Journal, starred review

"Wiesner offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings . . . the masterly watercolors and ingeniously layered perspectives create a clear narrative, and children will eagerly fill in the story's wordless spaces with their own imagined storylines. Like Chris Van Allsburg's books and Wiesner's previous works, this visual wonder offers an invitation for viewers of all ages to rethink how they see, out in the world and in their mind's eye." — Booklist, starred review

"The meticulous and rich detail of Wiesner's watercolors makes the fantasy involving and convincing." — Horn Book Magazine

"Delightfully well-crafted, cryptic, cinematic, and circular." — San Francisco Chronicle

"While some wordless books leave readers feeling shortchanged, this grandly inventive tale does just the opposite. Wiesner's illustrations draw us into a compelling visual adventure in which we discover a secret underwater world full of sly, fantastic details." — Parenting magazine

"Told entirely through Wiesner's lively, detailed watercolors, this wordless voyage of imagination yields fresh delights with each viewing." — Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Flotsam [is] the latest and grandest work of wordless brilliance from David Wiesner. . . spellbinding." — Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A visual delight." — Kansas City Star

"The Caldecott-winning author of The Three Pigs weaves a new and equally extraordinary tale." — Nick Jr., the Best Children's Books of 2006

"An exquisite, intriguing, floating fantasy about a boy and the camera he finds on the beach, like so much flotsam. Accomplished with no words."— National Association of Parenting Publications Awards

"Wiesner has crafted a beautifully painted surreal romp, with the kind of joyous inversion that we've come to expect from this gifted Caldecott Medal winner . . . the story is as light and as evanescent as a wave borne bubble." — Locus magazine


See the promotional video for Flotsam

In late 2006, Houghton Mifflin/Clarion Books participated in the first-ever Picture Book Video Awards, a program created and organized by The Book Standard/VNU Business Media. Students and graduates from top film and animation schools around the country competed to create a sixty-second "trailer" for Flotsam, the newest picture book from acclaimed author and illustrator David Wiesner.

The winning entry was created by John Haller, a student in his third year of the graduate film program at Columbia University. Produced by Bobby Miller, with animation by Willy Hartland and a voiceover by Sasha Friedenberg, the video gives life and movement to the detailed, gorgeous illustrations that won Wiesner his third Caldecott Medal.

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If you have iTunes, use the following link:

m4v file


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