Teddy’s Best New Picture Books of 2018: #2 “Door” by JiHyeon Lee
Wordless books are underrated. They put non readers and readers on the same level and allow children to both use their imagination and analytical mind to figure out what is happened in the story.
“Door” by JiHyeon Lee is the best new wordless book I saw this year and an amazing book of any kind. We get some foreshadowing of the story on the title page where we see a bug looking at a key. Next we see a boy finding a key and walking though a group of people. All the people who the boy passes as he walks by have looks on their faces that suggest that they are sad or angry. This is a good place to pause when reading this book to a young child(ren) to look at all the people’s faces and talk about how they might be feeling and why. It is important to point out the only thing in color on these opening pages is the tiny flying bug which draws your attention to it. The boy follows the bug which leads him to a door. Once the door is opened he is in a new world of color. Initially, the boy is frightened in this new world, but soon he makes friends. The characters all “talk” with word bubbles but what’s in the word bubbles is squiggly lines that do not resemble any known language. I love this choice because it allows the reader to speculate what the characters are saying. This is a great activity to do with a group of children as they all most likely will have different ideas of what the characters are talking about. This new world is populated by an ever growing cast of interesting characters who are all entering via different doors. The characters are anthropomorphic animals who as we study what they are doing carefully have narratives about them that develop. With wordless books, I love asking the children in class what they are seeing on the page and there is so much going on these pages that it will allow children to use their growing vocabulary to attempt to describe a myriad of interesting things on these richly illustrated pages. You can also pause and have the children guess what all of this is leading up to as the pages unfold. I won’t spoil the concluding event of the book, but it not one that I would have guessed at the start of the book. This is book that is sure to stir wonder in young children and allows children to build their reading compression and vocabulary as they try to explain what is going on.