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How many words can a wordless album have?

Author(s): Emma Bosch

Journal: Ocnos
ISSN 1885-446X

Volume: 8;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Wordless picturebook | Almost wordless picturebook | False wordless picturebook | Typology

Wordless picturebooks are books that tell stories exclusively through images, that is, without making any use of words. All books contain a title, the name of the authors, the name of the publishing house and the acknowledgments. So Strictly speaking, no picturebooks are entirely wordless. But even relaxing this assertion slightly, the fact is that there are fewer wordless picturebooks than we might think. So how many words can a wordless picturebook have and still qualify as such? There is no real answer to the question: it depends on how strict our selection criteria are. This paper provides a typology of wordless picturebooks according to the words they contain. We explore essencial words (publishing details and titles), we analyze the comments on the story (author's and publisher's paratexts), and the texts that explain games (instructions). We also review the panorama of almost wordless picturebooks (books including words integrated in pictures and other texts) and define the false wordless picturebooks (where the text is concentrated or hidden, with sonorous or repeated words). We present examples from different sources.
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