David 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!
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,
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.