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The Whole World on One Page - International Wimmelbooks

Children romp around, play on the swings in the playground, amuse themselves at the fairground, and dance at a party. They go sledding, skiing, and ice-skating; they lie in the sun at the beach or climb up mountains. Cars and trains zoom over bridges and through tunnels; people stroll and bustle across market squares and crossroads. There is a lot going on in wimmelbooks*! A thousand things can be discovered on every page, and lots of stories are just waiting to be told: Where is the boy with the balloon going? And the dog with the bone? Why are those two boys wrestling?

Ever since Ali Mitgutsch created his first wimmelbook, “Rundherum in meiner Stadt” (All around my town), in 1968, these mostly wordless picture books have become a constant presence in many nurseries. Rotraut Susanne Berner’s pictorial narratives, set in the little town of “Wimmlington”, are classics, that are read and reread time and again. In other countries, such as Poland or Norway, wimmelbooks are in fashion as well: They present everyday life during a typical day or throughout the year; they show children’s bedrooms, individual houses, or entire cities. More often than not, the books are based on actual towns or places. Using very few words or even none at all, wimmelbooks tell stories about the “whole world” and encourage readers to explore and invent their own tales.

The travelling exhibition showcases international wimmelbooks from the past 20 years. It invites visitors to take a closer look at them, to marvel, and to participate.

Content of the exhibition:
1 introductory text panel, 44 picture panels, 16 international picture books

Introductory text available in German and English, further translations upon request

Next venues:
8 April - 28 May 2024:
Public Library in Holzgerlingen / Germany

10 June - 23 August 2024:
Library of the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences / Germany

Further venues in the planning stage!

Lena Pflüger, from “Willkommen bei den Wolvertons”. Beltz & Gelberg, 2014
Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński, from "Miasteczko Mamoko". Warsaw, 2010

Exhibitions at the k1 Culture Center in Traunreut / Germany 2023 (© Gabi Rasch), the Public Library in Dornbirn / Austria 2021 and the Hong Kong Book Fair 2022.

* A “wimmelbook” (German term „“Wimmelbuch“ or “Wimmelbilderbuch”) refers to a special type of picture book. These books are usually wordless or almost wordless, and their large-format pictures are teeming with things, people, animals, objects, etc. Some of these books belong to the category of “seek-and-find” or “hidden (object)” picture books, because they ask the readers to search for a certain character or object.