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Tell Me A Story.

The magic of wordless picture books

reading

--Photo by JellyBean Pictures

A study published in the April edition of the academic journal First Language found that mothers use more complex language when "reading" wordless picture books than they do when reading books with text. All of which suggests that sharing just-picture books can be good for a toddler's language development. So as we think about adding a few titles to our own wordless libraries, we asked the StrollerTraffic Scouts to tell us about their faves.

The winner of the 2012 Caldecott Award, A Ball for Daisy depicts a tale of a beloved dog losing her favorite toy. There's plenty of emotion rendered in Chris Raschka's relaxed, friendly illustrations—and a satisfying ending. Barbara Lehman's brilliant The Red Book wraps adventure, mystery, and friendship in gorgeous pops of color that play against a muted background. We love Tomie de Paola's books with text, of course, but his 1978 classic Pancakes for Breakfast is delightfully funny and optimistic (and wordless). The New York Times named Wave by Suzy Lee to its list of the best illustrated children's books of 2008, and we understand why: it's a simple, beautiful celebration of childhood and the discovery of the joys of nature. The impressive details on the pages of You Can't Take A Balloon Into The Metropolitan Museum has so offer an endless supply of things to point out and discuss (including plenty of NYC landmarks and well-known works of art). In the recently released Bluebird, illustrator Bob Staake addresses weighty topics like bullying, loneliness, and friendship—without a word.