Tuesday: Flying Frogs and Fantasy

TuesdayDavid Wiesner’s classic picture book Tuesday is a delight, and inspiration for creativity from preschool to graduate school. Tuesday is an almost wordless tale that begins “Tuesday evening, around 8:00.” It uses a series of wondrous watercolors to recount the story of swarms of toads and flying lilypads as they adventure through the night. Here, take a look.

Every time I examine Tuesday, I find some new detail that delights me. Its almost word-free format (except for occasional notations of the time) means it can serve as inspiration for storytelling at all ages.

Preschool children can use Tuesday to tell (or dictate) the story or inspire creative dramatics to continue the story. Imagine a roomful of three-year-old flying frogs describing where they would go!

flyingfrogsOlder students could continue the story in writing, using the flying pigs from the last page, or another animal of their choice. How about a class book titled, When Pigs Fly?

Or consider studying the structure of a wordless book. What did the author use to cue the reader about the sequence of adventures? Think about creating new wordless books, perhaps for a preschool class.

But Tuesday does not have to be limited to young children. One of the best things about the book is the character of the watercolors and the mood they give to the story. With older students, consider using Tuesday as a study in mood and tone. First, examine the strategies the author used to create mood wordlessly, then think about the kind of vocabulary and phrasing that would fit the pictures. Would the story best be told through prose or poetry? Challenge students to write it, carefully considering the match to the tone of the illustrations.

You could take the study of mood further by writing different versions of the same story, conveying different moods. For example, think about the difference between a poetic narrative that starts

There once was a frog who could fly

Driving lilypads up through the sky

and one that begins

Oozing swamp at twilight,

Whoosh!

Placid anura swarms.

Consider the types of illustrations that might fit each, then create them.

Tuesday is a glorious way to spark imagination any day of the week. If you enjoy it, explore Weisner’s other wordless books and check out his website to learn more about his process. Then, let your creativity fly! I’d love to hear about the results.

5 thoughts on “Tuesday: Flying Frogs and Fantasy

  1. I was reminded of 2 books after reading this. They are Imagine a Day and Imagine a Night, written by Sarah L. Thomson with paintings by Rob Gonsalves. They have wonderful language coupled with amazing imagery in the paintings on each page. They are a great creative springboard into art, writing and of course the imagination.
    Here a couple of images:

    imagine a day…
    ,,,when a book swings open
    on silent hinges,
    and a place you’ve never seen before
    welcomes you home.

    imagine a night…
    …when velvet darkness hangs
    at every window,
    so that our dreams
    will never end.

    The paintings that go with these images are just breathtaking.

    We can then imagine a morning..,, imagine a dance…, imagine a dinner… and imagine a clock… for ourselves in different ways.

    Just beautiful

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  2. The students in my class have written their own interpretations for imagine a day…, imagine a night… and then came up with their own phenomena to imagine for eg. imagine a lunch…, imagine a pet… and imagine a star… among others. When I do it again this year, I will have them paint pictures to go with their writing.

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    • Is this the book you used, by Sarah Thomson? Looks like I need to add it to my collection!
      PS Oops. I just responded to your most recent comment and realized the answer was in an earlier one. (That’s the shape my brain is in at the end of a quick summer term!) But I still want the book.

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  3. Yes, that is the right book. I recommend it to all readers to add it to their collection. It is a great resource (Including Imagine a Night) that can be adapted to all ages.

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