Caged – a wordless picture book that makes you think

 

I am a big fan of wordless picture books so was delighted to be given the opportunity to review Caged, written and illustrated by Duncan Annand and publishers Tiny Owl. Through simple but very effective drawings it explores issues of greed, freedom, our connection to nature, and the courage shown by individuals to help others. It is a book that would be great to share, either as a group or as individual’s that then feed back their responses. I also felt it might work particular well with children aged 9+years. Not having the right group of kids myself  I asked Shenaz Bagshaw to help. She shared the book with a couple of groups of year 5’s at St James CE Primary School in Northampton. The children loved the book. One of the main reasons was: “because it makes you think”. This is one of the clever things about this wordless picture book, it actively invites the reader to try and work out what is happening and to question.

The pictures are a wonderful combination of line drawings in black and white. These contrast with a single blue bird and the multi-coloured parrots. Some things the children said when Shenaz ‘read’ the first part of the story with them were:

  • “Why is the bird blue, and everything else just outlined?”
  • “The man’s clothes look like Willy Wonker”

From these two comments there are so many things you could explore and discuss further.

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