February 24, 2024

The children’s-book author David Wiesner, wrote an essay to accompany the 2021 exhibit “Speechless: The Art of Wordless Picture Books,” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, where he laid down milestones for the wordless picture book genre. Wiesner made reference to “Bunny & Tree” as a key milestone in wordless picture books. The Enchanted Lion Books, an independent children’s publisher championed the wordless format with their Stories Without Words series, from a decade ago, which includes Gaëtan Dorémus’s “Bear Despair” (2012) and Camille Garoche’s “Fox’s Garden” (2014). The wordless picture book heightens the flavors of what remains by excluding what readers might otherwise assume to be a main ingredient. Many of the best wordless picture books pursue a concept of pure simplicity. The books demand more of adults as readers and as caregivers, but by evening story time, parents might just want to zone out with a familiar text.