by David Wiesner


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A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.

Each of David Wiesner's amazing picture books has revealed the magical possibilities of some ordinary thing or happening--a frog on a lily pad, a trip to the Empire State Building, a well-known nursery tale. In this Caldecott Medal winner, a day at the beach is the springboard into a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep, and of the qualities that enable us to witness these wonders and delight in them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618194575
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/04/2006
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 69,747
Product dimensions: 11.25(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

About the Author

David Wiesner is internationally renowned for his visual storytelling and has won the Caldecott Medal three times—for Tuesday, The Three Pigs, and Flotsam—the second person in history to do so. He is also the recipient of three Caldecott Honors, for Free Fall, Sector 7, and Mr. Wuffles. He lives near Philadelphia with his family. www.hmhbooks.com/wiesner 


Outside Philadelphia, P.A.

Date of Birth:

February 5, 1956

Place of Birth:

Bridgewater, NJ


Rhode Island School of Design -- BFA in Illustration.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Wiesner offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion." Publishers Weekly, Starred

"A mind-bending journey of imagination." School Library Journal, Starred

"In Wiesner's much-honored style, the paintings are cinematic, coolly restrained and deliberate...An invitation not to be resisted." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Wiesner's detailed watercolors make the absurd wonderfully believable...and children will surely love 'Flotsam' from start to finish." New York Times Book Review Notable Book

"The meticulous and rich detail of Wiesner's watercolors makes the fantasy involving and convincing." Horn Book

"Wiesner continues to show children that things aren't always what they seem. Would the Caldecott committee consider a three-peat?" Bookpage

"Wiesner returns with his traditional wordless-narrative format for another fantastical outing." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Flotsam 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
TheWizidd More than 1 year ago
This book ONLY contains pictures of a little boy's discoveries on a trip to the seashore. He discovers many different items. YOUR child, whether they can read, or not, is left with trying to "tell the story" in his/her own words. As a parent you can help them along, but I wouldn't interrupt "their" storytelling - they are "reading" to YOU. And everytime they "read" this book, they will tell you a very different story!
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Wiesner won the Caldecott Medal in 2006 for Flotsam. He has received the Caldecott Medal twice, for Tuesday and The Three Pigs, and two Caldecott Honors, for Sector 7 and Free Fall. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and lives near Philadelphia with his wife, Kim Kahng, and their children, Kevin and Jaime. Flotsam is something that floats. In the book Flotsam, a young boy is playing on the beach and something washes up. After he begins to investigate, he discovers a camera that is used under water. He takes the film to be developed, and discovers all the interesting sea life. He also discovers that he is not the only child to find the camera, so he loads the camera with film for the next child who is out looking for treasures on the beach.
wordwrite More than 1 year ago
Mr Wiesner's wordless book tells a most eloquent story, filled with whimsy and plain fine storytelling. In brief (and no spoiler, I think) it's about a young boy at the beach with his family who finds a camera washed up by a big wave. He discovers that there is film (!) in it, and with his folks' permission he takes it to a one-hour developer. The sequence of illustrations in which he's waiting the hour is nothing short of brilliant. The rest of the story - and the book - is his discovery of the pictures. I looked through the whole book - then bought it (immediately!); since bringing it home I've enjoyed it many more times finding new delights each time. It's appropriate for children (even ones too young to read but able to comprehend the sequences) and adults. I mean to give it as a gift to two children and several adults. Check it out! Might I add: the original copy I bought? It's MINE.
sunnyburke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great story that doesn't need words at all. David Wiesner does an amazing job with his illustrations so that there is never a question about what is happening. This wordless story is about how one person's trash may be another person's treasure. The setting of this story is at the beach when a little boy finds an old camera that has been washed up on shore. When he takes the time to really look closely, he is amazed at what he finds. The little boy also recognizes the treasure that he has found and understands that some treasures were meant to be shared with others, so he give it back to the sea for another person to enjoy. This is a great wordless book that can spawn a lot of wonderfu conversations with children and adults alike.
ReplayGuy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flotsam is a great book to let your imagination run wild. Not only are the pictures great you have to come up with words for the pages, giving it unlimited story options. It also gives me insight on how students that don¿t know how to read words can read the pictures.When a boy finds a camera on the beach he gets the film developed and it shows what all the people who had the camera before him saw. In true Weissner fashion, the pictures show unusual happenings in the sea.
Ctorm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
5Q 5PRich and intricate illustrations instantly captivate the reader and invite them into a fantastical glimpse beneath the sea. It is easy to get lost in the detail of the illustrations and incredible imagination found on every one of Flotsam's pages. This enchanting wordless story reveals the wonders and magical qualities the sea can represent.
Mparis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A boy finds an underwater camera and discovers he's not the first to have found it.This book is full of amazing illustrations! There are no words, but it is very clear what the tale is telling us. Classroom connection: sharing, photography, sealife
BNBHarper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: This is a Caldecott Winner book about a boy that goes to the beach to look for different things. He first finds a crab and then soon discovers an underwater camera that does all sorts of magical things. Response: This is a great book that stretched my mind out. It made me think outside of the box. Connection: This would be a great book for kids to think outside of the box too. Sometimes kids are so used to what the words say that they don't always focus on the pictures. This is a great book just for that, have kids just focus on the pictures and see what they think the words should say.
eputney87 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary- a little boy is exploring on the beach when he comes across a camera. As he looks at the pictures on the camera he sees pictures of many underwater scenes as well as pictures of other kids who have found the camera on their beaches all around the world. Strength- WordlessThe fact that there is not a single word in the entire book but the storyline is vividly clear is this book's biggest strength. Use with Kids- This would be a great book to read as a whole class, in small groups or individually when exploring the importance and value of illustration.
sylvatica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It is wonderfully imagined and, as usual for Wiesner, beautifully executed. No words, just pictures. I don¿t think there¿s actually a way to tell the story of this book in words. The animals are perfectly done and very scientifically accurate, even if the story is fantastic. It is on my shelf of favorite books and I find new things to love every time I look at it. Best read at home or in a small group, due to the lack of words. For the right kind of kid, this could set off hours of imaginary play. (pannarrens)
Samantha_Wright on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flotsam is by far my favorite wordless picture book. It tells the story about a young boy who is into photography and the adventure his camera goes on in the ocen taking pictures of the sea creatures. This book's illustrations capture the attention to many students and they are just fascinated. I read this book to my 1st grade students and before we got started I asked them to make some predictions on what they thought was going to happen and it was just amazing seeing all 4 of them come very close to what David Wiesner is trying to express in Flotsam.
khallbee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It isn't hard to see why this wordless picture book won the Caldecott Medal. Wiesner's beautiful, intricate, and quirky illustrations are evocative and playful at the same time. The relatively simple story, which follows a young beach-combing boy as he discovers an antique camera in the surf and develops the fantastical pictures inside, is original and moving. The last few pages, where the boy sees all the other children who have discovered the camera and then sends it on to its next destination, was a classic trope told in a new and inventive way. Whether a pufferfish hot-air balloon or a group of mermaids taking a squid-taxi along a sandy boulevard lined with streetlamps, Wiesner's imagination manages to combine ordinary objects with delightful sea-creatures to make a fanciful universe all his own. While some of the full-page illustrations tend more towards the abstract or the surreal, he always includes little touches to anchor them in the real world. In the page with the pufferfish, for example, the entire foreground is taken up with the splash of a breaking wave, frozen in time. Something about those still water droplets makes this whimsical picture seem so much more real than anything you're likely to find in Salvadore Dali's repertoire.
KristinSpecht on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book for ELL students. While there is a lot going on you could still use it to teach certain words and concepts of discovery, underwater life, picture taking, ocean waves, things washing up on shore etc. You may need to go through the book at a slow pace in order for the students to get everything that is going on. For some students who may be able to speak more English you can let them guess what certain objects are and what is going to happen next.
mmuncy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A boy on vacation to the seashore with his family finds an old underwater camera. He takes it to his parents who then take it to the lifeguard, but the boy gets to keep it. He runs into town to develop the pictures. When he gets them there are all sorts of amazing underwater pictures. There is a mechanical fish, a family of underwater creatures at home on the couch, and islands that are really giant sea stars. The last picture is of a girl holding a picture of a boy holding a picture of another child holding a picture, and so on until the boy uses his microscope at x70 to see a little boy waving. The boy decides to take a picture of himself doing the same thing. After he takes the picture he flings the camera back out into the water where it makes a trip far out to sea and then back to an artic island.This was very enjoyable. I can see why the illustrations won the Caldecott.Becuase the boy uses a microscope inthe book, I think introducing the kids to the microscope after the book would be a fun idea.
caltstatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book reminds me of the "Red Book." It is a cute story of a young boy finding a magical camera on a beach. When he develops the film, he finds magical beings on the pictures. The boy decides to take a picture of himself and throw the camera back into the ocean. The end of the story reveals a girl finding the camera and her story begins.This would be a great story to spark the imagination of the students and find just how far the camera could actually go.
CassieM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wordless picture book with the most vivid, amazing, fantastical illustrations I have ever seen.
lpeal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very interresting book that I think children will enjoy. It's about a little boy who finds a camera at the ocean and he gets to "see" what the camera has seen.
VandyGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Flotsam¿ is a Caldecott winning picture book with no words or narration. It is done very much in the style of a graphic novel, with many pages containing frames which show the movement of the story. The story shows a boy who finds an underwater camera washed up on the beach. He develops the pictures and discovers a wonderful underwater world with mechanical fish, octopi reading newspapers, and tiny alien tourists among other things. The very last picture shows a girl holding a picture of the boy who found the camera before her, who holds a picture of the boy who found it before him, and so on. Seeing this the boy inserts new film and takes a picture of himself holding this picture, before throwing the camera back into the ocean where more pictures will be taken before someone else discovers the camera.Even with no words, the story is clear and easy to follow and the pictures are wonderfully imaginative. The lack of words will make this enjoyable for children with little or no reading skills to enjoy entirely on their own, as well as fostering imagination in readers of all ages. 1 year ¿ 1st grade.
jdieder104 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful Book. One of my favorites. A boy finds an underwater camera at the beach. He develops the pictures and sees what life is like underwater. Satire with fish on the couch, a star fish as an island, a sea anemone as an air balloon carrying fish. Every pictures has a thousands stories. The camera also includes pictures of others that have found the camera throughout time.
rebecca401 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are no words, but the pictures tell a fantastical story about a boy who finds an underwater camera on the beach. He develops the film and discovers all kinds of underwater secrets. He also discovers a photo of a kid holding a photo of a kid holding a photo of a kid holding a photo of a kid holding a photo, etc., and he takes his own picture to continue the tradition. This is a great book to read side by side with a child and ask all kinds of "what do you think is happening" questions.
StephanieWA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This award-winning wordless picture book about a boy's fantastical beach discovery is captivating in its illustrations. Done in watercolour, Wiesner's images capture the surprise of discovery and in them he creates an imaginary underwater world which will appeal to children as they examine its details. His idea of the pictures within pictures, which link the character to past discoverers, is fun and and will get children dreaming about discovering their own flotsam!
btivis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flotsom may be the absolute best book I have seen at telling a story without using a single word. Each picture captures a separate part of the story so vividly that you have no doubt of anything that is taking place. The beautiful changing colors keep your attention throughout the entire book. Every time you read the book you find details in the pictures that you missed before.I think this book could be used with many age groups. I think you could use it to identify main ideas and details with students. I also think they could work in groups to create a story that goes along with each of the illustrations in the book.
JackieHancox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This wordless picture book is filled with gorgeous watercolour paintings that are each worth a thousand words. The discovery of a camera that has documented its underwater travels reveals that the world beneath the ocean's surface is far more astonishing and adventursome than you cold possibly imagine. The reader is left at the end imagining what wonderous things the camera will document next. The beauty of this book makes it worth reading over and over again!
karinaw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personal Response:This is a wonderful book. Even without words the reader understands the whole story, the boy¿s emotions, thoughts, and wonder. The underwater scenes are very imaginative would definitely capture the interest of a young child.Curricular/Programming Connections:Have children draw pictures of their own fantastical or imaginary underwater scene.
ChristineRobinson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flotsam is a wordless picture book about a boy-scientist who finds a camera on the beach during a family outing. The boy develops the pictures found in this piece of flotsam and the resulting picture and subsequent events are fantastical and imaginative leaving the reader wondering about the past children seen in the pictures and the future children who will find the camera. It is much like the cyclical story in The Red Book by Barbara Lehman. David Wiesner¿s illustrations are elegant and detailed in a way that is beyond belief. A must read.