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The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

In a sense, wordless picture books are like frames excerpted from a silent movie, telling a story in their own quiet way. Because there are no words to guide the reader along and explain the sequence of events, such books are a true test of the illustrator’s storytelling vision and artistic abilities — although, here, Marla Frazee‘s considerable talents are such that she makes it all seem almost effortless.

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Petit, the Monster by Isol

The opening line of this book is an intriguing question: “Do you know Petit?” This sets the tone for the rest of this quirky story by Argentine author and illustrator Isol, which attempts to make sense of some of the confounding dichotomies of life from a little boy’s point of view — the most pertinent question being whether it is possible to be both good and bad at the same time.

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The Winter Train by Susanna Isern and Ester Garcia

In contrast to the aptly wintry and languid atmosphere that permeates its pages, this beautifully illustrated book spins an imaginative and heartwarming story about how — instead of holing up somewhere and hibernating — a motley group of animals in the Northern Forest make like migratory birds and escape the bitter cold by catching a special train that will bring them to the Southern Forest.

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I Like Animals by Dahlov Ipcar

Children have a natural attraction to and affinity for animals. Thus, true to its title, I Like Animals is a wistful expression of the innocent desires of a child who simply yearns to be with (more) animals. And naturally — in kid logic, that is — this means owning a zoo and/or a pet shop, and/or becoming a farmer or a woodsman when he grows up. (Ah, to be a child again with boundless optimism and no notion of practical limits/considerations!)

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