The Wanderer

  • Title: The Wanderer
  • Author: Peter Van Den Ende
  • Illustrator: Peter Van Den Ende
  • Publisher: Levine Querido distributed by Chronicle Books
  • Publication year: 2020
  • Brief Summary: From Levine Querido: “…Van den Ende presents one little paper boat’s journey across the ocean, past reefs and between icebergs, through schools of fish, swaying water plants, and terrifying sea monsters. The little boat is all alone, and while its aloneness gives it the chance to wonder at the fairy-tale world above and below the waves uninterrupted, that also means it must save itself when storms approach. And so it does. We hope that readers young and old will find the strength and inspiration that we did in this quietly powerful story about growing, learning, and life’s ups and downs.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – While I am not sure if art teachers get involved with the school library or not, I can’t help but think this book would be a lovely merger of art and print as it is essentially a book of art. There are no words here so this book could not be read-aloud, however using the knowledge of art techniques, a art teacher could bring this book into a discussion of how art can make one feel just as rich emotions as much as text can. I would even argue that this book could be paired with a music teacher as well. I am thinking a collaboration of all the arts could make this book enticing to children (think of what Disney’s Fantasia as an example).
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. – While I loved this book simply for Van Den Ende’s rich, multifaceted illustrations, the lack of text makes it hard to recommend for a school library. However, the magnificent illustrations are a story unto themselves. Children can imagine themselves sailing along with the paper boat into a fantastical world full of otherworldly sea creatures and sea life. The fact that the illustrations are only done in black and white with varying shades of grey really make this book incredibly detailed. One of my particular favorite illustrations is a two page spread of all the miscellaneous sea creatures surrounding the little paper boat as it floats away.

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