I snatched this from a shelf at the library last week, and I'm completely in love. I've read a few wordless picture books, like Time Flies, which I liked fine, but the kids aged out of it really fast. There's so much more to this one, with incredibly beautiful art that tells all kinds of stories that roll off of the other stories, like pictures of pictures that stack onto themselves. I'm pretty much in incoherence land with this one.
A boy finds a camera beach-combing. He develops the photos, and they are wonders: a family of octopi in armchairs, mechanical fish, aliens meeting with Proteus. The pictures hit a spot somewhere between comedy and fantasy, and it makes my brain sigh. The plot moves, and the last photo is of a child holding a photo. In that photo is a child holding a photo, and down and down. The main character gets out his microscope and sees back into history to a black and white child on a beach. (My husband pointed out that this is called the Droste Effect
. That link is a major google hole. You're welcome.)
My son was not interested in this book at first, because, and I quote, "Without words it's not reading." But by the end it won him over, because it's an incredible tale, beautifully illustrated. The camera goes back into the ocean in the end, and swims through more wonders, ending on a beach with a child stretching down her hand to pick it up. It's like a message in a bottle; a balloon with a note tied it, but so much better because it doesn't tell, it shows. This book makes me happy I'm subjected to kid lit.