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4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  12,926 ratings  ·  1,498 reviews
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 kee ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 4th 2006 by Clarion Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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The Arrival by Shaun TanFlotsam by David WiesnerTuesday by David WiesnerThe Snowman by Raymond BriggsGood Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
Wordless Picture Books
2nd out of 138 books — 218 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
8th out of 77 books — 288 voters

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Community Reviews

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Dec 27, 2012 Maciek rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Children and adults alike!
Flotsam is a short and beautiful picture book, bound to delight both children and adults alike. It is a great book for children (of all ages) to read on their own and to read together with their older companions.

The book is completely devoid of any dialogue - which is its great advantage: although a few English words on its cards they are not essential to understanding and enjoying the story. This allows for Flotsam to be enjoyed by all as it is not bound by any language, like classical music.

A perspective-altering philosophical text cleverly disguised as a children's book! Wiesner, through the use of smart story-boarding, a child's point of view, and a strong dose of whimsy, provides a tale eschewing the need to stay young. But he is not merely pedantic: he shows us *how* to remain young by inserting the reader in the middle of the action, drawing us into the child until we are the child. Then, after unmooring us from our adult concerns through the use of a series of surreal photogr ...more
“Flotsam” is a 2007 Caldecott Award winning book by David Wiesner, author of the popular books, “Tuesday” and “The Three Pigs.” In this story, a young boy discovers a mysterious camera from the sea that eventually shows him another world under the sea. “Flotsam” is surely one classic that cannot be beat.

David Wiesner’s illustrations are once again beautiful as he draws each character in a realistic way, especially of the images of the fishes doing human activities under the sea. The image that
Lisa Vegan
Oct 02, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every young child & everyone in their lives
Superb book that even the youngest book listener will be able to read on their own, as it’s told almost entirely in pictures: but so much more fun for adults or older kids to read it with them. A great fantasy story for kids, but there’s also a lot of science thrown in and objects to talk about and explain. And it communicates a lovely message about sharing & giving. Gorgeous pictures. And there’s a great photo of the author as a 5 year old at the seashore on the back inside cover with the a ...more
Caldecott-Winner, and for good reason. This is a story told in pictures about a boy who finds a camera washed up on shore and develops some pretty amazing pictures, and a bit of a mystery! It's not until the end of the story that all the pieces fit together and it's a fun AH-HA moment. Lots of imagination here. I'm not sure how much I liked Weisner's style, per se, but I have to give this five stars simply for the concept!
Since I adore children’s illustration, I decided to check out some of the books that made the top 20 most beautiful children’s books list.

Flotsam definitely deserves to be up on the list. It’s just a picture book about a boy who finds a camera and the amazing pictures inside. I love the whimsical little tale, and the illustrations are fantastic. I think kids would love this. I know I did. :)
Imo, there were too many things Wiesner wanted to share with us. The boy finding the camera could have been condensed into one of the other stories, but it was rich enough here it could have been its own story, too. The story of the surrealistic pictures found on the developed film was cool - there should have been more of those. The best story was the picture within a picture, children going successively back in time - but I've learned that some people had trouble understanding that bit. There ...more
This is such an amazing 'read', without any words in it! If you absorb this book slowly, savoring it, there is so much to think about after you finish it!
I hope even more people, young and old, will be exposed to this book, and do something about the promptings they may feel in their hearts and minds. :)
My favorite David Wiesner book to date, and truly an amazing book! Another wordless book which technically may be "written" for children, but certainly can be enjoyed by all. A boy finds a camera on the beach and decides to get its film developed. When he (and the reader) look at the developed photos, a wonderful journey to an incredible underworld begins. With elements of out-of-this-world fantasy and imagination, captured in vivid, non-threatening illustrations, this book is perfect for younge ...more
Loved this book! A wonderful Caldecott Award winner that totally deserves it, this book has no words, but still very much worth the read. My 5 yr old was fascinated by the story line and we learned a new word, Flotsam, that he'll not easily forget. Even my 3 yr old twins enjoyed the interesting and unusual pictures in this one, and I'm looking forward to looking up Wiesner again in the future.
This is a story about a boy who finds an underwater camera (flotsam) washed up on the shore. He develops the film, and he discovers that there is an extraordinary world under the sea as well as other kids around the world. There are images of the different types of fish as well as images of people who have found flotsam, taking a picture with the people who have found flotsam before them. Since there are no words in the story, the illustrations in this book are the only source that explains what ...more
"Flotsam" by David Wiesner is a wordless picture book. The story takes place at the shore. It is mostly told through the perspective of the camera after a young boy finds the vintage camera on the beach. He develops the film and it tells an adventurous and imaginative story of all the places the camera has been.

The illustrations are breathtaking and vivid. The illustrations are done through many different perspectives, making turn paging that much more exciting. Each image is both realistic and
Jul 26, 2008 Dolly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading to their children
Amazing story without words. The illustrations are vivid and tell a story that will just fill any "kid" with wonder. There is so much to look at, you could spend an hour pouring through the pages of this book.

Loved it! We've borrowed this one from the library many times! Because it doesn't have words, our girls can narrate the story to me! I don't think this story could ever get old - I expect we'll borrow this one again and again.

This book was selected as one of the January 2011 - Wordless Pict
Crystal Marcos
I had picked up Flotsam on few occasions at bookstores and flipped through. I finally had the chance to read it in its entirety thanks to the Children's Picture Book Club. This month's selections were wordless. The story is about a boy who finds a camera on the beach and has the film developed. The illustrations were so imaginative. I am fascinated with possibilities of the deep sea. I adore turtles and found myself staring at that particular page a little longer than the rest. I love the storyl ...more
May 17, 2009 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ann by: Practically everyone I know!:)
A story with no words. This is a beautiful book with intriguing pictures of an underwater world, complete with fish and merpeople civilizations. It's nothing in-depth, but each page is an exciting discovery, and the final series of pictures was a happy surprise. "Flotsam" is a colorful twist on the classic "message in a bottle" and is not to be missed by the visually oriented and/or children - then again, nor should it be missed by adults or anyone who loves a good stories - words or no.
Carlos Gastelum
Wiesner,D.(2006)Flotsam. New York,NY: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin.

Flotsam is a short and wonderful wordless picture book. The story is about an adventurous young boy, who finds an underwater camera that gets washed ashore. When the boy finds the camera, it begins to reveal secrets of its past and shows him another world which lies undersea. David Wiesner’s illustration’s do a great job of taking over the story and fictionally portraying how under water animals relate to humans. Although some may fi
Ben Clark
"Flotsam" by David Wiesner is a wordless picture book that tells the story of a young man who discovers a mysterious underwater camera as it washes up on a beach one day. He gets the film in the camera developed and encounters a series of fantastic images: a mechanical fish swimming amongst a school of actual fish, octopi reading books beneath lamps lit by glowing piranhas, giant sea turtles with miniature civilizations living on their backs, and a spaceship full of giant seahorses. But the most ...more
Heather Hilliker
Flotsam (Wiesner, 2006) is a wordless book that tells of a young boy who adventures to the beach driven by curiosity and the anticipation for discovery. He finds a camera and views a multitude of exciting sea photographs, which is depicted within Flotsam (Wiesner, 2006) in a magically detailed and extremely creative manner. The pictures are full of imagination, and the reader is exposed to underwater cities and creatures within the tale. The boy in Flotsam (Wiesner, 2006) realizes that he is a m ...more
Kristen Carson
Book Information:
The genre of this book is fantasy and the reading level is ages 5-10.
David Wiesner has three Caldecott medal winners books and in the book Flotsam, it is only pictures. By looking at the illustrations the reader can understand what the story is even though there is no words. The story brings with a boy on a beach looking at a hermit crab. A wave comes in and washes up an underwater camera that still has film in it. So the boy gets the film developed and looks at the pict
Jan 24, 2014 Philip rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artists, dreamers
The surrealist under-water seascapes struck me most.

They're like Dali meets H.G. Wells meets C.M. Coolidge meets Spongebob. *See pictures at the bottom*

When I was a kid, I went to the beach often. I grew up in Pennsylvania, but my mom is originally from St. Petersburg, Florida. We would visit more frequently then most people I knew, although probably not as much as she would have liked. I loved looking for shells and sharks' teeth, sand dollars and sea-biscuits.

The book is about a kid at the bea
Salina King
Dec 09, 2014 Salina King added it
Shelves: t-l-307
Flotsam is an amazing story of a camera that has been passed from one person to another for years by the ocean. A young boy finds an old camera that has washed up on the beach and takes the film from the camera to get developed; what he finds is almost too wild to believe. There are tons of pictures from the depths of the ocean showing scenes of fishes living in their homes, metal fishes and even underwater cities. The last picture is one of the individual who found it last holding a picture of ...more
This book is told in all pictures. A boy finds an old camera that has been tossed throughout the sea. The last picture is the most interesting. It's of a girl, who is holding a photo of a child, who is holding a photo of a child, who is holding a photo of a child, and so on. All photographers have found this camera. He takes a picture of himself and tosses it back in the ocean. Another child finds the camera.

The genre of this book is fiction. The format is a picture book. The reading level is f
Matthew West
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mason Stewart
Superb! No words necessary for David Wiesner's book Flotsam. This book takes us on a journey through the incredible illustrations on each page. An ocean camera sweeps up onto the shore for a young boy to discover. The boy finds film and realizes this may not be the first time this camera has been discovered. The illustrations are so detailed and beautiful. Some of the illustrations take up the whole page, and sometimes the format is changed to look more like a comic book or newspaper strip. I'm ...more
Samantha Simmons
This book has no words, but the story is told in pictures. A boy is at the beach and finds an old camera. He takes the film to get it developed, and sees photos of fantastical undersea cities and inventions. The last picture is the most interesting, though: it's of a girl, who is holding a photo of a child, who is holding a photo of a child, who is holding a photo of a child, and so on. The boy figures out that he is one in a long line of photographers who have found this camera. He takes a pict ...more
Jessica Cain
Summary and Critique:
This book was only pictures and the pictures themselves told an absolutely amazing story even without words, which I thought, was awesome. The plot was about a little boy that found a camera by the ocean so he decided to take the film in and find out what the pictures were of. He got the film developed and found that several other kids had found that camera and he’s now seen there experience with the camera. Since he wanted the camera to be passed on to more people, he thre
What words can I use to describe this AMAZING wordless book? David Wiesner is incredible! You'll just have to read this one for yourself. :)
Taylor Shanda
Flotsam is the story of a young boy at the beach who discovers a camera. When he views whats on the camera, he sees amazing photos from around the world that have been take over the years. The story dives into the amazing images the camera has taken. The author uses comic book style illustrations to show the story cell by cell. This book doesn't have any text and tells the story entirely through illustrations. Its good for students to read books that are purely illustrations from time to time, b ...more
What a wonderful book! David Wiesner absolutely did an awesome job with FLOTSAM. I became more and more fascinated as I turned each page. Truly a deserving Caldecott Award winner. This wordless book begins with a picture of a boy looking for treasures while at the beach. Then he makes and extraordinary discovery! The boy finds a camera (FLOTSAM) that has washed up on shore, finds a roll of film in it and decides to have the film developed. As the boy views the developed pictures, he discovers th ...more
Natalie Payton
Flotsam written and illustrated by David Wiesner is a children’s picture book with no words and is told only by pictures. The pictures tell the story of a boy at the beach who finds an old camera that got washed up on the beach. He develops the film from the camera and sees the craziest and most captivating undersea cities and animals. The last picture in the film is of a girl who is holding a picture of a child who is holding a picture of a child, and so on. The boy realizes th
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During David Wiesner's formative years, the last images he saw before closing his eyes at night were the books, rockets, elephant heads, clocks, and magnifying glasses that decorated the wallpaper of his room. Perhaps it was this decor which awakened his creativity and gave it the dreamlike, imaginative quality so often found in his work.

As a child growing up in suburban New Jersey, Wiesner re-cre
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