The American artist David Wiesner is a doyen of the wordless book format. His beautifully constructed works are strange, surreal and intriguing. They show you an alternative universe and leave you asking questions of ‘how’, what’ and ‘why’.
Tuesday displays all these characteristics. As the full moon rises one night, it shows a large number of frogs taking off on levitating water-lily pads to visit the city and explore people’s homes.
In a rich palette of blues and greens – and at various hours of the night – we see, among other things, the frogs crashing into washing, watching television while an old lady naps, and encountering a scary dog.
Why are these things happening? It’s anybody’s guess… But when daylight comes, the magic stops. All that remains are a few empty lily pads and some very puzzled humans. What might happen next Tuesday, though – could proverbial pigs fly?
Tuesday won the Caldecott Medal in 1992 and in his acceptance speech Wiesner emphasised the open-endedness of visual storytelling. He said, ‘A wordless book offers a different kind of an experience from one with text, for both the author and the reader. There is no author’s voice telling the story. Each viewer reads the book in his or her own way. The reader is an integral part of the storytelling process. As a result, there are as many versions of what happened that Tuesday night as there are readers.’
Wiesner has won two other Caldecott Medals – in 2002 for The Three Pigs, and in 2007 for Flotsam. He has also received three Caldecott Honors for Free Fall, Sector 7 and Mr. Wuffles!.