Most readers expect illustrations in wordless books to be magical, and Suzy Lee certainly doesn’t disappoint with her illustrations in Wave.
She has used only black, white and blue in her charcoal and water colour illustrations. The endpapers offer a clue to the way colour is used within the story. The opening endpaper is illustrated in shades of grey, whereas the closing endpaper is covered in blue shells. As the story develops, readers are treated to more blue appearances on the pages.
Wave is about a little girl’s visit to the beach, with seagulls as her comrades, as she enjoys a battle with the waves.
Along with watching toddlers dance I’m not sure there is anything more entertaining than watching toddlers play with the waves at the beach. Most parents will envision their own toddler in this story or possibly remember their own visits to the beach as a child.
When near waves, young children are cautious, yet intrigued. Their imaginations are sparked and with developed confidence they release their inhibitions. These feelings are captured effectively in Wave.
The young girl starts out cautious of the wave and jogs away from it. She slowly builds up courage, and roars at the wave as it travels back out to see. She begins to have fun with the wave, pretending to use her magical powers to push the water back to sea and splashes in the water as the seagulls hover above.
She forgets for a moment about her caution. The seagulls stall in the air as a tall wave towers above her. You see the look of apprehension on her face before she makes a run for it, but she doesn’t escape the wave. It saturates her and brings with it some shells to the shore.
Her mother appears and it is time for her to go. She waves to her friend, the wave, and leaves happy and content. The wave remains, as do the shells, for their next adventure.
This is a simplistic but highly emotive story. There are many opportunities for a reader to predict and reflect.
You might be interested in other Wordless Picture Books
Publisher: Chronicle Books, March 2008