The DFF Book Club

Before we had kids, I remember looking at a book like this and thinking, “Ugh — no words, what a pain to make up the commentary to go with the pictures!” But now that I have our little treasures —with their individual personalities and quirks — books without words allow me to personalise the story for the audience.

Sunshine by Jan Ormerod
Still available from fine booksellers.

We have two such books by Jan Ormerod: Sunshine and Moonlight. These books are beautiful, wordless watercolor drawings of a young girl’s activities in the morning and in the evening in her family home.

In Sunshine, the young girl responsibly goes through her morning routine, climbing into her parent’s bed to wake them up, eating breakfast, and dressing herself. Then time gets away and the parents are in a mad dash to get out the door in time for work.

Sunshine by Jan Ormerod
The format of the drawings is interesting in itself — a wordless cartoon layout that varies on each page, of drawings in a delicate and quietly humorous style. (Notice how the girl — who has dressed herself — is portrayed with her shoes on the wrong feet!)

Ormerod is a masterful illustrator and observer of children and captures those priceless childhood moments that occur a thousand times a day.

Children delight in recognizing themselves in these captured routines. Parents delight in being reminded of the many rich moments that make up the fabric of our family lives.

In an interview 30 years ago when these books were first printed, Jan Ormerod explained how her own young daughter and own family were the inspiration for these gently realistic and perceptive illustrations.

However, the reason that these two books have become timeless classics is because they are not only a wonderful snapshot of Jan’s young family. We recognize our own children and ourselves in these stories, capturing in all those precious moments that only needed these wonderful books to remind us.

You can find Sunshine or Moonlight (with free worldwide shipping) from here.

(This article contains shameless plagiarising from