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4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,742 Ratings  ·  1,862 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 TanTuesday by David WiesnerFlotsam by David WiesnerThe Snowman by Raymond BriggsGood Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
Wordless Picture Books
3rd out of 183 books — 275 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
7th out of 79 books — 358 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 19, 2016 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kids; Parents
Recommended to Carmen by: Lisa Vegan
This wordless picture book is a delight. It is about a boy playing on the beach when an underwater camera washes on shore. He gets the pictures developed and puts in a new roll of film. Then his eyes widen in amazement as he sees the surreal pictures of what is really going on underneath the sea. Robotic fish, aliens, and many other wonders. (view spoiler) ...more
Sep 24, 2014 Forrest rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 27, 2012 Maciek rated it it was amazing
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.

Lisa Vegan
Oct 02, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 23, 2013 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children ages 3 and up
“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
Feb 11, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
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!
Sep 22, 2013 Willow rated it it was amazing
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. :)
Jan 04, 2009 Bobby rated it it was amazing
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
Arielle Walker
Jul 12, 2016 Arielle Walker rated it really liked it
Fantastic, in every sense of the word!
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Flotsam, my first wordless picture book, feels age inappropriate. From what I gather picture books are generally aimed at 3 to 8-year-olds. I have doubts a child in that range would be able to fully comprehend the story without help from an elder. Does a 6-year-old know what a microscope is and what it's used for? Will they understand the images shown at different magnifications? A few Goodreads reviews say that it doesn't matter if a child understands or not, they might make up their own story. ...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. :)
Dec 01, 2012 Cori rated it really liked it
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
Feb 05, 2013 Ch13_julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
"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 14, 2016 Dolly rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 07, 2012 Eyehavenofilter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: artworthy
What an incredible book. The illustrations are absolutely amazing! This is the second book by Weisner that I have gotten my hands on and I don't want to let go. A young boy is by the seashore and engrossed in looking at a few sea creatures when a large wave overtakes him and deposits an old underwater camera at his feet.
He realizes that there is film inside, so he takes it to be developed. To his astonishment there are photos I side that tell an unbelievable story.
Without words the story is fan
Crystal Marcos
Jan 14, 2011 Crystal Marcos rated it it was amazing
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
Matthew Hunter
2007 Caldecott winner. Wait, did Flotsam take me to the brink of a "meh!" review? Yep. Maybe it's that the wordless picture book comes dangerously close to violating a pet peeve of mine - an award winning children's picture book that really isn't for children. Considered detached from the story, the artwork's great - whimsical, steampunk-ish, imaginative, magical, insert fantasy descriptor here. The kids and I had a great time digging into each illustration. But the story itself's a different ma ...more
May 17, 2009 Ann rated it it was amazing
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.
Nicolette Roehl
Jan 27, 2015 Nicolette Roehl rated it it was amazing
“Flotsam” a 2007 Caldecott Award winning book by David Wiesner. This story is about a young boy who is vacationing at the beach and discovers an extraordinary camera. The camera and the pictures it contains reveals another world under the sea to the boy and opens up his imagination.

David Wiesner’s illustrations are beautifully drawn and appear quite realistic even in unrealistic situations where he shows sea creatures doing human activities. The illustrations take control of telling the story in
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
Sep 16, 2014 Ben Clark rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
"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
Dec 06, 2014 Heather Hilliker rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 09, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
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.
Kristen Carson
Dec 09, 2014 Kristen Carson rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Dec 09, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
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
Dec 07, 2014 Matthew West rated it it was amazing
Shelves: t-l-307
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kari Martycz
Feb 25, 2015 Kari Martycz rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
David Wiesner's wordless picture book of a young boy finding a camera on the beach allows for the reader to have a new idea about the beach. The young boy goes to the beach for scientific investigation. He examines all aspects of the beach with his magnify class and microscope. The boy stumbles upon an old waterproof camera, which still has film in it. The boy discovers that the pictures from the camera, are extraordinary. There are fish created with mechanical parts, octopi with couches and lam ...more
Samantha Simmons
Dec 09, 2014 Samantha Simmons rated it it was amazing
Shelves: t-l-307, pictur-book
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
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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
More about David Wiesner...

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