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Top 100 Picture Books #24: Tuesday by David Wiesner

#24 Tuesday by David Wiesner (1991)
61 points

This nearly wordless book has a pretty outrageous story of flying frogs. I like to say that you’d have to see it to believe it. The pictures are fun and funny. – Gina Detate

The first wordless picture book I ever discovered and fell in love with. – Amy M. Weir

Wiesner again.  It’s not enough that three of his books win Caldecott Awards, but all THREE have also ended up on this Top 100 list!  Amazing!  Lest you feel he is the sole darling of the librarian set, I think this book gives ample proof that he commands a fair amount of love wherever he goes.  That’s part of the man’s power.  Not that he’s not talented.  Lots of people are talented.  But that he has the ability to convince so many people of that talent.  Everyone agrees on Wiesner!  It’s a gift many an author/illustrator would kill for.

The plot from my old review: “One of the best pictures in this book is on one of the first pages. There, a turtle cowers in its shell as black eyed, pupil-less frogs rise on their lily pads out of the water. The frogs descend, so to speak, on a nearby suburb, and proceed to wreak some minor havoc. They disturb a man pausing to eat a late night sandwich. They disturb laundry and enter old ladies’ homes to watch a little telly. And they take a great amount of pleasure in scaring a dog that would undoubtedly eat them if it had the chance. As the book ends, the frogs are relieved of their otherworldly powers and hop back to the swamps, leaving only their lily pads behind. The next Tuesday, at the same time, we’re given a hint of how a more porcine animal will handle such unexpected flight.”

100 Best Books for Children offers some fascinating insight into the inspiration behind Wiesner’s works. “David Wiesner became fascinated with a different kind of picture book from the ones being published for children.  After studying the work of Lynd Ward, he knew he wanted to try to craft books with a minimum amount of words, or no words – books that allowed the pictures to do the storytelling by themselves.”  About this book, “Wiesner liked Tuesday because its ‘ooze’ sound seemed to evoke frogs.”

Houghton Mifflin (Harcourt?) has dedicated a rather lovely website to the book where you can read Mr. Wiesner’s first Caldecott acceptance speech, check out his reviews and awards, and find out about where he got his idea for the story.  You may also read the full book here.

I am amused by Publishers Weekly which said of the book, “Wiesner’s visuals are stunning: slightly surrealistic, imbued with mood and mystery, and executed with a seemingly flawless command of palette and perspective. But, perhaps because this fantasy never coalesces around a human figure, it is less accessible and less resonant than his tales that center on a child protagonist.”

School Library Journal was also a little mixed when it said, “Dominated by rich blues and greens, and fully exploiting its varied perspectives, this book treats its readers to the pleasures of airborne adventure. It may not be immortal, but kids will love its lighthearted, meticulously imagined, fun-without-a-moral fantasy. Tuesday is bound to take off.”

And, of course, the Vega mash-up:

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.