Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Rotraut Susanne Berners Winter-Wimmelbuch (Rotraut Susanne Berner's Winter-Picture book), 2005, 14 pages
Publisher: Gerstenberg Verlag
ISBN: 978-3-8369-5101-2
Price: Euro 12,90
German Level: Beginning-Native
What is a "Wimmelbuch"? I have translated it as "picture book" and this is quite true. This is not, however, what we English speakers think of when we read "picture book". First of all, there are no words. Each set of two pages shows a scene, for example the downtown. Each scene is packed full of people doing daily activities. There are stories expressed through pictures, and you can elaborate on these picture stories as much as your (or your child's) imagination allows. The book contains 7 scenes: the inside of a multi-family home outside of a city, a farm located near an autoshop and gas station, a train station, the downtown kindergarten next to a multi-purpose building, the town square with its seasonal activities, the inside of a shopping center, a lake and park just down the way from a convent.
Berner has four books, one for each season of the year. The same scenes are in each book with the same characters, but the characters' activities change with the seasons. There are so many things for small eyes and fingers to find. For example, where is Niko, the parrot, in scene 1. He is still flying away in scene 4. Will the little girl catch him?
The illustrations are so strikingly German, and the culture is wonderfully reflected in them. These are fun books whether you speak German or not, and a nice way to introduce your children to the images associated with the good ole' wholesome side of Germany.

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