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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  26,641 ratings  ·  2,736 reviews
In the extraordinary Caldecott Medal–winner and New York Times bestseller by David Wiesner, a beach day is the springboard to a wildly imaginative exploration of fantastical mysteries of the deep—and of human connections through time.

A young boy comes to the beach eager to collect and examine flotsam—anything floating that has been washed ashore. But nothing among his usu
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 4th 2006 by Clarion Books
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  26,641 ratings  ·  2,736 reviews

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Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To see this week's wordless picture books, please visit

Here’s another wordless book from a favorite author, David Wiesner. I reviewed The Three Pigs, Sector Seven and Free Fall awhile back. I was super excited to take a peek at this one.

The story begins with a curious boy who is visiting the beach. He has an interest in beach life and brings a multitude of exploration tools with him. As he’s exploring, a wave comes, and brings with it a strange looking camera. It res
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kids; Parents
Recommended to Carmen by: Lisa (not getting friends updates) 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
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy wordless picture books and inventive stories
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan
A boy is looking closely at things he finds on the beach when a barnacle covered camera is washed up. Seeing that this is an underwater camera he takes the film to be developed. Bringing the photographs back to the beach he looks at underwater scenes with very unexpected happenings. My favourite part of the story is when he finds a photo of a child on a beach holding a photo, when he looks closer the photo shows another child holding a photo and using his microscope he sees this happens again an ...more
This book sucked me in like any good book will. Lavish detail and a rich plot even without words. I am loving how wordless stories can have a lot to say. A boy finds an underwater camera that washes ashore at the beach. He develops the pictures and the surprises get better and better.

This was simply fun and entertaining. I feel enriched and uplifted.

The kids enjoyed this book as well. Now they want to take a camera to the beach. We don't have an underwater camera and I don't think they quite ge
Jun 13, 2014 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
Dave Schaafsma
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wordless Caldecott-winning picture book (one of three so far by Wiesner, this one from 2006) about a boy who goes to collect flotsam washed up on the sea shore. and finds a kind of amazing series of "messages in a bottle" through an underwater camera he finds there. He gets the film developed and there are pictures of two different kinds of things; one, marvels of underwater fantasy life and 2) pictures (selfies) taken by other kids who have found the camera. Of course the kid takes his own self ...more
Dec 25, 2012 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  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Sep 26, 2007 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 autho ...more
Albeit that I do indeed consider David Wiesner’s Caldecott Medal winning Flotsam visually spectacular and stunning (and especially so much aesthetically appreciate the minutely descriptive underwater detail, the diversely colourful fishes), I nevertheless also and equally do feel somewhat if not majorly conflicted regarding Flotsam as a wordless picture book telling an actual and solid story. For as a very text and written word oriented reader (who is very visual but whose vision is in fact prim ...more
Jan 12, 2010 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 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! ...more
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
Sep 18, 2013 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. :)
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, visual
Fantastic, in every sense of the word!
Jan 29, 2013 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
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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
Kaethe Douglas
Woofie loved it, as do I. The concept is so strong, and Wiesner's art is always amazing. ...more
4.5 out of 5
Not a single word in this book yet I feel like I've just read a long, elaborate story...
Annalise Nakoneczny
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. This is a book without words that is very exciting and grabs the reader's attention right away. The illustrations are SUPERB, whimsical and witty and colorful and beautifully rendered. Also, WHALES ...more
Dec 01, 2012 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
Jessica Maitland
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even without any words this book tells a wonderful story. The protagonist through the book is a boy who finds a camera and sees various pictures on it. The ocean and a picture in a picture. I read it to a child with EAL and he really enjoyed it as well. Reading the pictures is something else and one experience for all to try.
I haven't read all of David Wiesner's books, but this is, by far, my favorite of the ones that I have read. ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Beautiful, Brilliant Picture-Books
Brilliant picture-book author/artist David Wiesner, whose Tuesday and The Three Pigs both won Caldecott Medals (in 1992 and 2002, respectively), struck gold a third time with this gorgeously illustrated, and entirely wordless tale! Set at the seaside, Flotsam follows the story of an inquisitive young boy who stumbles across an underwater camera washed up on the shore. Running to a local shop to have the film he finds in the camera developed, the boy uncovers a fantastic underwater world ...more
Kinsey Hattab
This book was a lot of fun to read! The illustrations were very detailed and did a great job of moving the plot along, as a good wordless picture book should do. More specifically, the way that Wiesner created a sense of time and action with each small illustration is what moved the story along and made it easy to follow. He also did a great job of using the characters' facial expressions to help tell the story and to give us more insight into the characters. I also love how he enlarged the phot ...more
Jul 26, 2008 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
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
Linda Lipko
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Grab your bathing suit, goggles and a bucket of sunshine and dive into the lovely Caldecott 2007 medal winner.

While walking along the ocean tide, a young boy is knocked off his feet. Looking around, he finds an older box like camera noted as "the Melville Under Water Camera."

Developing the photos the boy discovers an entire underwater life unknown to man. There is an octopus family, relaxing inside a living room, wonderfully designed fish flying high in the sky inside a hot air balloon, turtles
Crystal Marcos
Jan 14, 2011 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
Jul 07, 2012 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
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Caldecott 2/3

I cannot stop raving about this book! It was shown to me by a classmate in one of my classes and the ways to use and teach this book are endless! The story can be straightforward, wacky, wonky, or downright crazy. I love wordless picture books for the immense joy that they offer for people of almost all ages.

Since this picture has no words, the pictures and illustrations must portray all 1000 of them. The illustrations are phenomenal. They are bright and beautiful, some of them hav
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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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