17 The Art of the Picturebook

17 The Art of the Picturebook

Lawrence R. Sipe Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

Picturebooks blend words and illustrations. The two dance together, in what Maurice Sendak once famously called the “seamless” style of these two modes of expression. Lawrence Sipe—who specializes in the analysis of this genre—has specifi cally chosen to highlight the relationship by using picturebook as one word rather than two, for it is the combination of art and language that together create the aesthetic object. Still, he argues that the picturebook is ever transforming, drawing in other visual and written genres from the comic book to the novel. And like all transformations, each decision—from the peritextual features to the drama that occurs at the turn of the page—is freighted with ideological and sociocultural implications. Caldecott award-winning artists, Chris Raschka and David Wiesner, echo Sipe’s argument with detailed insights into their own creative processes, including their often surprising results as they work with gutters, end pages, and margins to best tell their stories.

“Sequential art,” to use Will Eisner’s (1985) term, is noth- ing new. Think of Hogarth’s (1735) popular series of eight prints limning the rise and demise of a headstrong and greedy young man, A Rake’s Progress, and you will see that the idea of a series of visual images connected together by a narrative thread is not something that originated recently. Indeed, we can trace this idea much further back to ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman murals, Chinese and Japanese scroll paintings, and to medieval art such as the Bayeaux tapestries and stained glass windows. Some (Kiefer, 2008) argue that we can go even further back, to prehistoric se- quential cave paintings. Often, these earlier pieces of art rely almost exclusively on visual images; Hogarth’s series has no words except for the titles of the images.

In picturebooks, however, we do have a new literary/ visual format—a series of pictures with corresponding words, where the words and pictures, equally important, stand in complex relationships with each other, and where the pictures do not merely “illustrate” what’s already said in the verbal text, but add something different and new, so that the synergy (Sipe, 1998) between words and pictures adds up to something greater than the sum of its parts. This intricate dance between words and visual images is, according to many scholars, the unique contribution of children’s literature to the whole of literary endeavor, and in modern times begins with the work of Randolph Caldecott (1846–1886).

In a famous example of this synergy, in one of his

238Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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“toy books,” Caldecott takes the nonsense nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle” and transforms it. Perhaps the most brilliant passage of this ground-breaking exemplar is the last line of the rhyme: “and the dish ran away with the spoon.” In Caldecott’s illustrations, the dish, presented as a male suitor, “spoons” on a bench with the object of his affections. Moreover, the next illustration shows the tragic result of the dish’s attentions: he lies broken in pieces on the fl oor, while the indignant knife and fork (the spoon’s parents) lead her off, while the dish’s crockery groupies raise up an almost audible wail of mourning. Thus, Calde- cott’s visual images, when combined with the words, pro- duce a charmingly inventive expansion, while the words anchor the illustrations by telling us what we should pay attention to. The words tell us things that the pictures omit, and vice versa; in addition, readers/viewers must fi ll in the gaps that neither the words nor the illustrations contribute. This, in a nutshell, is the art of the picturebook.

I have chosen to begin with this example because it not only defi nes the nature of the picturebook so well; it also gestures toward many of the points I want to make in the rest of this chapter. Caldecott’s art, and its reproduction in his books, demonstrate the great technological advances that have been made in the “means of production” of picturebooks since the late 1800s. Caldecott relied heav- ily on Edmund Evans and his team of expert engravers to transfer his fl uid and supple line drawings to small blocks of boxwood, one of the hardest of woods, and the blocks were then assembled tightly together, inked, and the images printed one by one. This incredibly laborious process of reproducing illustrations and combining them with text has changed dramatically over the last 125 years. My point is that art is always embodied in some form, whether as paint on canvas, bronze castings for a statue, or in a well-crafted book. There is a materiality about art that we must take into consideration, and the art of the picturebook is no exception.

As light and amusing as Caldecott’s dish-and-spoon il- lustrations are, they also show that art always has a serious side. As well, there is the subtlest of ideological messages in the failed relationship of the dish and the spoon: stick to your own kind. Art invariably refl ects the political and sociocultural contexts in which it is made, and Caldecott’s toy books, as well as our contemporary picturebooks, always express these contexts, however surreptitiously or unconsciously. In other words, in addition to what we might broadly call considerations of “aesthetics,” all art has an ideological, political, and social dimension that I want to address.

Finally, my reference to Caldecott indicates that picture- books today have one foot in their historical context, with all the conventions and techniques that have evolved over time, but they also stand on the cutting edge of publishing, more than holding their own against exotic technologies such as cyberformats and hypertext. Picturebooks, along with these other invitations to “new literacies” are both

re-inventing themselves and transforming the way we view the processes of reading and seeing, inviting us to think of ourselves—especially our identities as readers/ viewers—in new ways. All art both informs us and has the potential to transform us.

This chapter is divided into four sections. First, I de- scribe the process of making a picturebook and address advances in the technology of reproduction that have al- lowed an unprecedented blossoming of picturebooks with illustrations in many different media. The second section discusses the qualities and affordances of picturebooks as aesthetic objects. In the third section, I turn to the socio- cultural and ideological issues related to contemporary picturebooks. Finally, I explore possible new directions in picturebooks, including the ways in which they will continue to blur into other visual formats.

The Process of Producing a Picturebook and Advances in Technology

Picturebooks, like any other art form, have both conven- tions and formal qualities that are incarnated in doing and making, which result in a physical, aesthetic object. Unlike the objects (paintings, sculpture, etc.) produced by individual artists, picturebooks are the result of a process involving a number of people: authors, illustrators, editors, designers, and all the technically savvy people who know how to produce excellent reproductions of the original art and bind the resulting pages into a book.

In addition, picturebooks are produced in quantities, unlike a unique painting or piece of sculpture crafted by one artist. In this regard, picturebooks have a greater simi- larity to the limited edition prints often made by the artist herself or in conjunction with a printer who reproduces the original work. As Marantz (1977) reminds us, the pic- turebook itself is the aesthetic object, not the original set of illustrations for it. In other words, though the original art is desirable and collectible, it is always in the service of making the book we hold in our hands. This gives a new twist to Walter Benjamin’s (1936/2000) observations about the means of mass-reproduction that have become commonplace in the last two centuries. Benjamin refl ected on the ways in which practically everyone could have a copy or reproduction of the Mona Lisa, even though there is only one original, hanging in the Louvre, which obvi- ously has much higher value and social cachet. By contrast, picturebooks are in this sense more important than the set of “original” illustrations. In the case of the Mona Lisa, the painting is the original, and the copies/reproductions are spinoffs. With picturebooks, the reverse is the case—the book itself is the “real thing,” and the work of the artist (and author, editor, and designer) are subsidiary.

I can do no more than sketch the process of making a picturebook from start to fi nish; much detailed description exists in the books mentioned at the end of the chapter on the business of children’s literature in this handbook,

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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and even in some books meant for children (Aliki, 1988; Stevens, 1995). However, it’s necessary to at least limn the outline of the process. Generally, what happens is this: an author composes a text and sends the manuscript to an editor, who reads the manuscript, and suggests changes. When this back-and-forth negotiation is complete, the author and editor divide the text into segments, which will appear on each page. Then the editor usually has the responsibility of assigning the text to an illustrator, who produces illustrations for each page, fi rst creating a “dummy” book—a thumbnail size version with sketches of the illustrations for each page. Curiously, and surprisingly, the author often has no input into the choice of an illustra- tor, nor do the author and illustrator usually communicate with each other. This lack of communication may result in a less integrated fi nal product; Salisbury (2004) suggests that the best picturebooks may be those where the author and the illustrator are the same person. Salisbury (2008) calls these people “authorstrators,” borrowing the coined word of one of his students. On the other hand, some edi- tors defend the practice of assigning an illustrator to a text without any input from the author, asserting that this gives illustrators more freedom of artistic choice.

Meanwhile, the designer often chooses the font used for the words of the story, the placement of the words on the page, the size and shape of the book (portrait or landscape), and determines what the elements that “sur- round” the story look like—the dust jacket, the cloth or board cover (called the case), the title page, dedication page, etc. Then the book is ready to go into production. This involves reproducing the illustrations by a number of different means, usually photo-offset, which involves photographing the illustration through a successive series of fi ne screens or fi lters that separate the illustration into four parts (yellow, cyan [blue], magenta [red], and black), which will then be printed on top of each other so that the fi nished reproduction will be as close to the original colors as possible. The fi lters not only separate the colors, but also reduce the illustration to an incredibly large number of tiny dots, which makes the printing possible. The type of magnifying glass called a printer’s loupe can be used to see this matrix of dots, and adults as well as children are fascinated by this sight—what appears as solid color is actually a complex array of tiny pinpoints.

This is where the length of the manuscript comes into play. The length is usually limited to the amount of text that can be printed on 32 pages, including a proportionally greater space for the illustrations. Why the magic number 32? Simply because of the means of production: When the fi nal printing is done, the standard procedure is to print eight pages on each side of a very large piece of paper, which is then folded and cut so that there are sixteen pages (counting the front and back) called a signature. Larger presses can handle even larger sheets of paper, so sixteen pages may be printed on each side, and divided into two sixteen-page signatures. Two signatures are most often

used in picturebooks—thus 32 pages. Although books can be as few as 24 or as large as 40 or even 48, most picture- books have a limited number of pages, and that number is always divisible by eight. Pull a picturebook off the library shelf and count the pages to check this for yourself. In an interesting newer development, some picturebooks are printed with only four pages to a side, so as to have more control over the color values. Norman Juster’s (2005) and Chris Raschka’s Caldecott-winning The Hello, Goodbye Window was printed in this way (Raschka, personal com- munication, 2007). When the signatures are ready, they are either sewn or glued together on the spine of the case cover. The dustjacket is printed and folded around the case, and—voila!—the picturebook is ready to be distributed to bookstores.

Reproduction techniques have improved dramati- cally, even in the last decade. Well before this, there were paradigm-shifting improvements in the 1960s. Before that time, artists had to do their own color pre-separations; in other words, instead of relying on a machine to separate the colors, artists had to produce a separate image for each color (and black) in each illustration—what an arduous process! This is why, if you look at picturebooks that are more than 40 or 50 years old, you will see a much simpler style and range of color values. The advances in repro- duction give artists a virtually unlimited choice of what media and techniques they can now employ to illustrate picturebooks.

Qualities of Picturebooks: The Picturebook as an Aesthetic Object

Color, Line, Shape, and Texture The illustrations in a picturebook are meant to be seen in sequence; however, we can only look at one opening (also called a double page spread) at a time, so some men- tion must be made of the traditional elements of visual design—color, line, shape, and texture—common to all visual art rendered in two dimensions. Color has natural associations and cultural associations. Blue is almost universally associated with calm, detachment, seren- ity or (in its darker moments) melancholy, for example. But the color for grief and mourning in most of western society—black—is replaced in some Asian countries with white. Illustrators’ use of these associations will therefore depend on their own cultural backgrounds. Colors have three aspects—hue, tone, and saturation. Hue refers to the pure color, unmixed with anything else. Hues may be combined with black, which results in shades. Or they may be combined with white (or water, in the case of water- based media), which results in tints. Tone refers to the amount of darkness or brightness of a hue, and saturation is the intensity or purity of a color. For example, highly saturated hues are predominant in Christopher Myers’s clever version of the famous nonsense poem Jabberwocky (Carroll, 2007); there are very few dilutions of pure color

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in either the text or the illustrations, in keeping with the energy, tension, and triumph of the story. As reimagined by Myers, the Jabberwock is a huge, threatening basketball player, challenged by the much smaller (but faster) hero, who beats him and takes the basketball (the Jabberwock’s “head”) home in celebration. Marisa Montes’s (2007) Los Gatos Black on Halloween contains highly shaded hues and dark tones, with very few saturated colors, appropri- ate for a story that takes place at night and combines the Mexican Day of the Dead with Halloween.

Line can vary in “weight” from thin and wispy to thick and solid. The fi ne ink lines in The Wall (Sis, 2007) make possible a great deal of detail, even in small illustrations. Cross-hatching, where fi ne lines criss-cross each other, can darken certain areas of an illustration and gives a feeling of energy or tension, palpable in that most classic of all picturebooks, Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak, 1963). Shape is discussed very clearly in Molly Bang’s (1991) Picture This, which explains several general principles of shapes in pictorial art. Horizontal shapes, for example, give us a sense of “stability and calm” (p. 56), while vertical shapes are more exciting and suggest energy. Diagonal shapes are the most energetic and dynamic of all, evoking a sense of motion or drama. Pointed shapes create anxiety and dread, because of their association with objects that may hurt us, whereas rounded shapes act in the opposite way, soothing us with their safety and comfort. The place- ment of shapes is also important; Moebius (1986) and Bang (1991) suggest that placement on the top half of an illustration gives an impression of lightness, freedom, happiness, or spirituality, whereas placement in the bot- tom half signifi es greater weight or “down-to-earth-ness” and may also mean seriousness or sadness. Kress and Van Leeuven (1996) suggest that shapes on the left (verso) side of the double page spread indicate the status quo and stability, whereas those on the right (recto) side suggest the possibility of change or motion, since they are near the place where we will turn the page. Shapes near the center get our attention fi rst, and often signal importance or domination (Moebius, 1986).

Texture is diffi cult to represent on the smooth paper in picturebooks, but the illusion of texture—in three dimen- sions—as rough or smooth, hard or soft, is made possible by the exacting reproduction techniques discussed above. The variety of highly textured hand-made papers of Bul- garian illustrator Sibylla Benatova’s backgrounds for the illustrations in The Magic Raincoat (David, 2007) contrast nicely with the slick, shiny smooth renditions of a little girl in her raincoat, rendered on mylar. The overlapping surfaces of the various textured papers fool our eyes into perceiving a three-dimensionality on the two-dimensional space of the page.

Style, defi ned by Nodelman (1988) as “all the aspects of a work of art considered together” (p. 77) results from the combination of color, line, shape, and texture; the ar- tistic medium or media the illustrator uses; and common

motifs or themes. Some styles (such as Tomie dePaola’s) are so consistent that children can recognize the work from across the room; other artists purposefully vary their styles according to the content/subject matter of the story. Even young children can grasp the concept of style if practitio- ners begin by contrasting two very different styles, such as the fl uid, loose watercolor style of Jerry Pinkney, with its pencil underdrawing, and the outline style of dePaola, with its rounded shapes, minimalist depictions of char- acters’ facial expressions, and extensive use of acrylic or watercolor tints rather than fully saturated colors. After discussing these differences, we can then distinguish more subtle differences in style, and help children to perceive these differences. For example, Pinkney, E. B. Lewis, and Ted Lewin all use watercolor as their primary medium. Pinkney’s style is the most loose and fl owing; Lewin has a very tightly controlled style; and E. B. Lewis’s style falls somewhere in between these extremes.

Taking a Tour of a Picturebook I want to give a sense of the various parts of picturebooks by giving directions for examining these elements closely. I will be referring to a few examples from Ashley Bryan’s (2007) Let it Shine, a picturebook version of three popular spirituals: “This Little Light of Mine,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I’ll also share some insights about the design elements of Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes (2007). It would be most useful if you had these books in front of you as you toured the books with me. First, take a look at the front and back dust jacket cover, and ask whether they comprise a single illustration. Or are there different illustrations on the front and the back? What does the dust jacket suggest about the tone, possible characters, or topic of the book?

Next, remove the dust jacket, and look at the front and back board covers in a similar way. Are they the same as the dust jacket (as in Let It Shine) or are they different (as in Los Gatos)? Why do you suppose the designer made these choices? The circular shapes on the dust jacket of Los Gatos are paralleled by the circular shapes of the circular frames for the images on the board cover.

Then open the book, and examine the endpapers. The endpapers of Let it Shine are as colorful and exuberant as the front cover, with wavy stripes of various colors, sug- gesting the lines of a staff of music as well as a horizon line; two large hands; and what appear to be photographs of two pairs of scissors on top of the hands. The hands suggest both the spiritual “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and the illustrator’s own hands. In contrast, the endpapers of Los Gatos are appropriately plain black, for a story that combines the Mexican Day of the Dead and Halloween. Take a look at the front and back endpapers; are they alike or different? In both Let it Shine and Los Gatos, they are alike, but this is not always the case. See Sipe and McGuire (2006a) for a fuller discussion of endpapers.

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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Turn the fl yleaf of the front endpapers and examine the next page, which may consist of a dedication page and “front matter” (publishing information) or perhaps a frontispiece (an illustration opposite the title page that sets the tone for the book). Is there a half-title page (a page with only the words of the title) followed by a full title page (which gives the title plus the author, publisher, and copyright date), as in Let it Shine?

Ask yourself how all these surrounding elements prepare you to read and understand the story that follows (Sipe & McGuire, 2006b). Also ask yourself how all the design elements of the book (the color palette, the major shapes utilized, and the artistic medium or media) are arranged to make the book an artistic whole, rather than a miscel- laneous collection of elements. How do the size and shape of the book match the story or the perspectives used in the illustrations? How are the words and pictures arranged? For example, are the words always at the bottom of the page, or are there variations in the ways in which the words and pictures relate to each other physically? In Los Gatos, the many curved shapes in the illustrations are echoed by the curved lines of the text, whereas the text of the spirituals in Let it Shine are invariably printed in horizontal lines at the bottom of each page, suggesting the way that texts for music are printed below the musical notations. Are all the illustrations double page spreads, with the illustration going across both pages, or are there smaller illustrations, perhaps even a series of smaller illustrations? Do the illustrations “bleed” (extend all the way to the edge of the pages) or is there a border or white space? A border always gives a feeling of distance, whereas illustrations that bleed to the edge of the page give us a sense of involvement and engage- ment. How is the font chosen for the words appropriate to the tone and setting of the story? In general, how do all these elements work together to produce a satisfying and harmonious aesthetic whole?

The Relationship of Words and Pictures As I mentioned in the introduction, the intricate dance between text and pictures is the sine qua non of the picture- book. There are many ways in which the various relation- ships between words and pictures have been described. In one category, we have a wide range of metaphors. Moebius (1986), for example, speaks of the “plate tectonics” of the word-picture relationship, and Miller (1992), continuing the scientifi c metaphor, writes of the “interference” pat- terns between the visual and the verbal, in reference to physics and wave theory, for two waves may combine to form an entirely new pattern. Musical metaphors are also employed; “counterpoint” or a “duet” are used by Pull- man (1989) and Cech (1983–84), respectively, and Moss (1990) refers to Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s idea of words and pictures as having an antiphonal or fugue effect on each other.

Other writers use more developed concepts to de- scribe the relationship. Lewis (1996) writes of the

“polysystemy”—“the piecing together of text out of dif- ferent kinds of signifying systems” (p. 105). Lewis also uses the term “interanimation,” following Margaret Meek’s (1992) observation that the words and pictures interanimate each other. My own term is “synergy,” referring to the effect that text and pictures produce together that would not be achieved if either were missing. I have also used semiotic theory to describe the ways in which reader/viewers engage in “transmediation” (Suhor, 1984), translating, as it were, one sign system to another and back again—interpreting the words in terms of the pictures and the pictures in terms of the words (Sipe, 1998). Nodelman (1988) suggests that the words “limit” the pictures by telling us what to pay at- tention to in the visual image, and that the pictures “limit” the words by telling us exactly what visual image to think of when we read a word. For example, if the story is about a princess, the illustration limits that word by showing us exactly what this particular princess looks like. Doonan (1993) argues that there is always some tension: the words always drive us to keep reading to fi nd out what happens, whereas the pictures pull us in the other direction by invit- ing us to linger and slow down.

Finally, there are numerous taxonomies of word-picture relationships; these may be the most useful because they make the point that words and pictures do not have just one type of relationship with each other, but many (Agosto, 1999; Golden, 1990; Lewis, 2001). Nikolajeva and Scott’s (2001) typology is perhaps the most complex. They sug- gest that there are fi ve distinct word-picture relationships: (a) symmetry (there is a virtual equivalence between words and pictures); (b) complementarity (words and pictures form one narrative, but contribute independently); (c) enhancement (the words and pictures extend or expand on each others’ meaning); (d) counterpoint (the words and pictures tell different stories, which may have an ironic relationship with each other); and (e) contradiction (words and pictures fl atly contradict each other).

All of these typologies make the point that, in the same picturebook, the words and visual images may interact in one way on one opening, and in entirely different ways in other openings. Lewis (2001) thus refers to the “ecol- ogy” of the picturebook, since all these relationships are not merely present independently, but are related to each other in complex ways, in the same way a biosystem consists of a complicated set of relationships among the various plants, animals, and their environment. The typologies also suggest that if the relationships between words and pictures are so complex, the relationships added by other modalities (movement in pop-up books and sound or light produced by small computer chips inserted in the book) must be even more interconnected and complicated. This is another argument for revisit- ing, re-reading, and re-viewing picturebooks. In general, word-picture relationships integrate sign systems: Steiner (1982), writing about illustrated books (and, by extension, picturebooks), observes that they are “a gesture toward

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semiotic repleteness” (p. 144) much in the way that an opera combines music, visual interest, drama, and nar- rative in a multisensual way.

Other Important Elements of the Picturebook Format

The Page Breaks/Turns. Unlike a novel, in which the words on one page fl ow seamlessly onto the next, the page breaks (sometimes called page turns) are very carefully considered in picturebooks. Authors, illustrators, and edi- tors pay close attention to the movement from one double page spread to the next. Barbara Bader (1976) suggests that the excitement and the aesthetics of a picturebook depend, in part, on “the drama of the turning of the page” (p. 1). Although authors and illustrators talk about the importance of page breaks in picturebooks, this charac- teristic is an under-theorized and under-researched part of the elements of picturebook format (Sipe & Brightman, 2009). There is not only a pause as we turn the page; there is likely to be a gap or indeterminacy (Iser, 1978) in the narrative. Consider, for example, the fourth and fi fth open- ings of Asma Mobin-Uddin’s (2007) The Best Eid Ever, the story of Aneesa, a Pakistani Muslim girl who discov- ers two refugees in the mosque during the celebration of Eid, the most festive holiday in the Islamic year. On the fourth opening, Aneesa’s grandmother gives her a bite of lamb korma in their well-appointed American kitchen. Grandmother says, “I’m glad you like it. Now let’s hurry and get ready so we’re not late for prayers.” When we turn to the fi fth opening, the illustration depicts Aneesa sitting in the mosque with her grandmother, trying to pay attention, but thinking about her parents, who have gone to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage. What happens between these two openings? We could speculate about the grandmother and girl putting on their good clothes, riding or walking to the mosque, and having conversation. The setting changes from the kitchen of grandmother’s house to the mosque. The mood also changes from one of delight in tasting the delicious lamb korma to the refl ective mood in the mosque, where Aneesa misses her parents. Speculating about these things allows reader/viewers to piece together each successive double page spread into a seamless narrative. This is crucial in order to understand the fl ow of the story. As reader/viewers, we are invited to be co-authors of the narrative, fi lling in the indetermina- cies between the spreads with interpretative inferences. Although all texts have indeterminacies, the page breaks in picturebooks seem an ideal place to speculate, hypoth- esize, and infer what happens in the liminal space (Turner, 1969) “in between.” Simply asking the question (to chil- dren or to one’s self) about what might have happened from one opening to the next is natural way to encourage active meaning making.

Connections to Other Works of Art—Intertextuality. No art is sui generis; it comes from a tradition and either

continues that tradition or breaks from it. Some picture- books, however, make a special point of referring to other famous works of art or the style of particular artists or time periods. Paul Zelinsky’s (1997) gorgeous illustrations for Rapunzel give a nod to the traditions of Renaissance Italian painting. Author/illustrator Anthony Browne is well known for including imitations and parodies of well- known works of art in his books. For example, in Willy the Dreamer, Browne (1997) wittily references the works of many paintings and painters, including Salvador Dali, Winslow Homer, and Henri Rousseau. The entire plot of Picturescape (Gutierrez, 2005) takes the protagonist on an intertextual art adventure, as he “enters” one painting after another as he visits a museum. These types of books may be used to teach the history of art (Sipe, 2001). They provide an entrée into the fascinating world of art, and there is a pleasure in recognizing how the illustrator has imitated or parodied a style or a particular work of art in a picturebook.

Borders and Breaking the Frame. One critical aspect of illustrations’ appearance on the space of the double page spread is the ways in which designers and illustrators use borders (or the lack of them). As I indicated above, the full bleed of every double page spread of Let it Shine (Bryan, 2007) invites our participation. When there is a frame, illustrators may “break” it by extending part of the illustration beyond the outside border of the frame. On the ninth and eleventh openings of Rainstorm (Lehman, 2007), for example, there are illustrations with white borders and black line frames that include images of a lighthouse. In both cases, the top of the lighthouse breaks the frame, adding visual interest by interrupting the straight lines of the frame, but also giving us an idea of the great height of the lighthouse. In How We Are Smart (Nikola-Lisa, 2006) each double page spread recounts the biography of one of 12 famous people of color who contributed to a variety of fi elds, from ballerina Maria Tallchief to singer Marian Anderson. In many cases, the straight line of the illustra- tion is broken. For example, the illustration for Marian Anderson includes a depiction of her famous concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. She is pictured standing in front of the enormous sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, and one of Lincoln’s arms and the chair it rests on break the frame, again giving us an indication of the size of the sculpture. In the illustration of Maria Tallchief, a silhouette of a ballerina breaks the frame by extending the ballerina’s arm outside the frame, suggesting freedom of movement.

The Problem of the Gutter. One aspect of picturebooks that illustrators and designers must take into account is that if an illustration is to cross the gutter (the place where the pages join and are bound into the spine), there needs to be special care taken so that important parts of the illustra- tion (e.g., a face) do not cross this space, lest some of the

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illustration be covered in the binding process. This is a problem unique to the picturebook, and requires careful handling, in addition to the usual challenges of balance of shape and areas of color. Text almost never crosses the gutter, because some of it would be obscured. In his Point of Departure essay for this chapter, Chris Raschka recounts an unfortunate experience he had when he neglected to take note of the gutter.

Ideology and Sociocultural Aspects/Contexts of Picturebooks

Language (and indeed any sign system, including systems of visual respresentation) “is endemically and pervasively imbued with ideology” (Stephens, 1992, p. 1). There is no such thing as value-free art, whether it is purely literary art or the combination of visual and verbal art that consti- tutes the picturebook. One of the aspects of the art of the picturebook that we must address, therefore, is how the modes of representation in picturebooks are necessarily freighted with sociocultural and political signifi cance. Marriott (1998) asserts that this is especially true in texts intended for children. It is therefore important to examine how picturebooks represent all the cognitive/affective tasks of childhood. Kidd (2004) asserts that “the success- ful picture book speaks its own psychological truth about childhood” (p. 155). To add even more weight to the bur- den that picturebooks carry, according to many theorists, visual representation always trumps verbal representation (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 1996), making it all the more im- portant to examine the power of visual images in convey- ing messages to readers/viewers. Thus, the hoary debate about what is proper to read to/with the young (which had its inception with the very beginnings of a special literature for children in the eighteenth century) continues unabated, and picturebooks, with their primary associa- tion with young children, receive a great deal of scrutiny and critique. At the same time, we must be cautious: it is simply not possible for one picturebook to convey the riches and nuances of any culture in 32 pages.

We are seeing an increasing diversity and melding of cultures in picturebook illustrators and authors. Pictur- escape by Elisa Gutierrez (2005) narrates the story of a Canadian boy’s trip to a Toronto art museum, and his subsequent fantasies of entering a series of paintings and prints by 12 famous Canadian artists. Although she cur- rently lives in Vancouver, Gutierrez “graduated in 1996 from La Salle University in Mexico City with a degree in Graphic Design” (back endfl ap). This is just one example of many picturebooks that have multiple cultural infl u- ences, and are not limited to the somewhat rigid categories we have invented. This increasingly international scene makes judgments about what is or is not representative of a particular culture problematic.

Ever since the publication of Nancy Larrick’s (1965) famous essay, “The All-White World of Children’s Books,”

the world of children’s literature has experienced a signifi – cant increase in the number of “multicultural” books, and picturebooks are no exception. Nevertheless, as Rudine Sims Bishop (2007) reminds us, the proportion of books that deal with children of color remains sadly low. Even so, we now have children’s publishers (i.e., Lee & Low; Arte Público Press) that specialize in books by/for/about people of color, and the mainline publishers seem to be increasingly amenable to dismantling the White middle- class cultural hegemony that was in place for so many years. However, White privilege still operates in the world of children’s picturebooks, as McNair (2008) demonstrates in her analysis of the lamentably low proportion of books for/by/about people of color in Scholastic Book Clubs for young readers.

Two words that most often surface in debates about representation of any group, culture, nationality, or ethnic- ity, are “authenticity” and “authority”: what constitutes an authentic representation of a culture, and who has the authority to do so? We should not assume that any picture “about” Mexican Americans will refl ect the values, ide- ology, and social practices of any particular person who identifi es as Mexican American, for example. Therefore, as Smolkin and Suina (1997) show in their analysis of various Southwestern Pueblo Native American critiques of McDermott’s (1974) Caldecott Medal-winning Arrow to the Sun, who has the right to “speak” for an entire culture or ethnic/racial group is a diffi cult question: “No culture…is monolithic; therefore, no single member of that culture can be seen as able to issue a fi nal assessment of cultural authenticity of a text” (p. 315). We should also be aware that more and more people are identifying themselves as having several ethnic/racial identities, so that it is no longer viable to think about categories such as Native American, African American, or Asian Ameri- can as having rigid demarcations. We need to be careful not to reify “Whiteness” any more than we can reify “Blackness”—Caribbean and African are not the same as African American, and African American is not one solid category, either. Nor is Puerto Rican American culture the same as Mexican American culture, though they are often lumped together as “Hispanic.” Nor are “Native American” cultures the same—there are vast differences between South Western Native cultures and North West and North East and Southern Native American cultures. We need a new sophistication and awareness about the subtleties of cultural difference, and we must move beyond simple broad labels. Nevertheless, from the vantage point of the United States, contemporary society is still very much constructed around rigid demarcations of racial and ethnic groups, and some picturebooks will continue to refl ect this rigidity. If children’s literature is to be a transformative force for society, however, publishers should continue to press for the broadest possible range of representations of the increasing diversity of the populations that constitute their audience.

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Martin (2004), in her important analysis of African American children’s picturebooks, suggests the follow- ing questions (applicable to depictions of all cultures, races, and ethnicities) to assist students in interrogating a picturebook’s ideology when read in conjunction with similar picturebooks:

What sorts of ideological messages does this text • convey about individual African Americans or African Americans as a people/group? In what way do the illustrations in these African-• American picture books uphold or attempt to dismantle racial stereotypes? What can you surmise about African-American cultural • values after reading this book that you might not have concluded before your exposure to it? Who do you think is the audience for this text, and why? • If you are not the intended audience for this text, how might your response to it differ from the response of its intended readers? What difference does the ethnicity of the author and/or • illustrator make to your reception of the text? And how has one text in this unit “spoken to” other • texts in this unit? (p. 194)

The issues surrounding the representation of gender in picturebooks are complex and varied (Lehr, 2001) as well. We know that the socialization of gender occurs very early in children’s lives (Davies, 1990), and that picturebooks generally continue this socialization, so that it is clear to even very young children that boys learn how to act (and do not act) in certain ways, and that the same is true for girls. In picturebooks that resist this rigid socialization, there seem to be two approaches, described by Altland (1994). Either the picturebook is a parody, inverting the power relations so that girls have agency and control, or the picturebook presents a world where both genders share power and agency equally; this second option is called “poesis” by Altland, who asserts that parodies such as The Paperbag Princess (Munsch, 1999), as much as they give agency to girls, do so at the expense of boys, so that there is still a hierarchy of power relations, but that girls are at the top. Altland argues that this is not the best way to represent true gender equality. Rather, stories that do not give girls power at the expense of boys are needed. Another aspect of gender representation is the research, summarized by Cherland (1992) that girls tend to be at- tracted to what is termed the “discourse of feeling,” with emphasis on character relationships, whereas boys tend to be attracted to the “discourse of action,” where the story is plot-driven. Naturally, this is a binary that is better understood as a continuum, and there are books that may embody the discourse of action and the discourse of feel- ing equally. As well, to employ a common philosophical distinction, the fact that something is the case says noth- ing about what we think ought to be the case; so even if it is true that there are gendered differences in response to

plot-driven or character-driven picturebooks, we are still left with the question of whether we might want to work to broaden the preferences of both boys and girls.

There is little research about representations of gay/ lesbian characters in children’s picturebooks, nor are there many examples (Chick, 2008). Schall (2007) identifi ed 64 picturebooks (of varying quality) with gay or lesbian char- acters; “different” families including same-sex parents; and picturebooks that could be read as gay or straight. And Tango Makes Three (Richardson & Parnell, 2005), about two male penguins who build a nest and eventually hatch an egg that has been abandoned, has the distinction of both being an informational book based on actual occurrences in New York’s Central Park Zoo and being excoriated by homophobic fundamentalists as a veiled valorization of homosexual relationships. Even facts about penguins, it would seem, are not exempt from the fundamentalists’ ire. Clearly, however, mainline publishers are skittish about the appropriateness of any representation of same-sex relation- ships for an audience of young children. A more common and acceptable stance—to present the relationship either obliquely or as doomed—is present in Caleb’s Friend (Nones, 1993), a picturebook about a friendship (with obvious overtones of love and romance) between a mer- boy and a human boy named Caleb. Having no common language—a metaphor for the “love that dare not speak its name”—the two can communicate only by gestures. Caleb, for example, gives the merboy a rose, which the merboy then presses to his heart. As Kidd (2004) com- ments, “The merboy’s liminality eroticizes the friendship but also ensures its innocence. Their distance keeps the bond mythical and chaste; the merboy could not survive in Caleb’s world, or Caleb in his, suggesting a painful separa- tion of self and other.…Certainly the book’s management of same-sex love tells us much about the heteronormativity of the picture book genre” (p. 165).

Finally, it is important to consider the sociocultural contexts of the school situations in which picturebooks are often used. In Art as Experience, Dewey (1934/1980) lamented the fact that, in modern times, art was divorced from everyday life, pointing out that it was literally and fi guratively put on a pedestal in museums and galleries, and that people did not have access to it in the same way that they had in previous ages (in churches and other public buildings, outdoor sculpture, etc.). Picturebooks, available in virtually every primary classroom (and some classrooms in higher grades where teachers value and know the potentials of the picturebook form) bridge this gap that Dewey felt was lacking. It is often the case that children’s fi rst experience of truly excellent and high-quality art happens when picturebooks are shared with them. It is this aesthetic experience that is so criti- cally important, now more than ever in the current sterile educational climate of high-stakes testing (No Child Left Untested!) and approaches to schooling that devalue the arts and have very narrow defi nitions of both literacy

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and “the basics.” It is quite ironic that, in the age that is according increasing importance to visual representa- tion, we have a school system in the United States that places such a low value on visual modalities of teaching and learning, as well as a dismally low view of the arts in general. This is especially distressing for children of color and low SES children, whose schools have cut back signifi cantly on the arts—if indeed they ever stressed them (Gadsden, 2008). I doubt whether this is going to change any time soon; however, the persistence and presence of picturebooks in classrooms allows the possibility for them to be seen and used as aesthetic objects, in addition to the purposes more commonly employed for them in teaching the skills of reading and as models of writing. It is not that these purposes are unimportant, but rather that we should advocate for using picturebooks as more than mere tools for teaching literacy–narrowly conceived in what Elliot Eisner calls “the tightest most constipated terms” (as cited in Considine & Haley, 1999, p. xvii).

Art both refl ects current cultures, identities, and ideolo- gies, while at the same time challenging them, pushing their assumptions and proposing a deep “seeing” and intel- lectual engagement that leads to new ways of conceiving of ourselves and the world. Socio-politically, art always engages us in the tension of how the world is perceived and understood, and therefore how it can be changed. Ideally, art should be a spur to political and social action. Picturebooks and other literature will not automatically accomplish this, but they can provide a catalyst for shifts in our thinking. Art always makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar (Shklovsky, 1925/1966), freeing us from the contingencies of everyday life. But that freedom can also be used to imagine new possibilities for human life, especially in this age of post-structuralism, where we fi nd ourselves fragmented both socioculturally and individually.

New Directions for Picturebooks (and Other Sequential Art)

A Growing Recognition of the Aesthetic Importance of Picturebooks Salisbury (2007) states that “In recent years the fi eld of children’s book illustration has attracted an expanding range of artists, drawn to the area by the potential for authorial creative design and by the elevated status of art- ists working in picturebooks (it would appear that it’s no longer uncool)” (p. 6). “That’s not art—it’s illustration” is a demeaning critique heard much less these days, partly because of the breaking down of the distinctions between high and popular culture in the postmodern era, but also because of the growing artistic merit of picturebooks themselves. Some (e.g., Salisbury, 2008) have observed that European, Australian, and Asian picturebooks seem to be more on the cutting edge when it comes to the sub- jects, styles, and sophisticated quality of illustrations than

American picturebooks (though there are of course notable exceptions). This assertion, of course, is not capable of empirical proof, for it depends on aesthetic taste, which can vary widely. However, there may be some reasons why picturebooks that are not published in the United States are considered superior. As Joel Taxel points out in his closely argued chapter in this volume, United States publishers are perhaps more subject to the “bottom line” philosophy of the multinational corporations that have changed the landscape of American children’s publishing so drastically over the past two decades. Other countries, for whom children’s publishing has assumed greater im- portance in recent years, may have considerable subsidies provided by governmental arts councils, which could en- courage high levels of experimentation and creativity on the part of authors and illustrators. As Salisbury (personal communication, 2007) comments, “The long tradition in children’s illustration here can be seen as something of a burden as well as a strength” in the United States and the United Kingdom. In other countries, there may be also less of a developed concept of what is proper fare for young children, and an openness to a broader range of subject matter that would appeal to a wider range of ages. In any case, a trip to one of the yearly international exhibits of children’s illustrated books drawn from a worldwide perspective, such as the famous Bologna Book Fair, might allow each scholar of picturebooks to draw her own conclusions about this matter.

This growing interest both refl ects and advances the so-called “pictorial turn” (Mitchell, 1994) of the last four or fi ve decades: the ascendancy of television, the Internet, gaming (Mackey, 2007), and the increasing immersion of society in visual images from advertising/marketing have all contributed to a decrease in the “verbocentric” quality of Western society, and picturebooks have been a part of this larger change. One sign of the burgeoning interest in picturebooks is the museums and collections devoted to them, for example the Oshima Museum in Japan; the Eric Carle Museum in Massachusetts; and the Marantz Collection of picturebooks at Kent State University in Ohio, as well as the Seven Stories Collection in the United Kingdom, all of which Elizabeth Hammill well describes in her chapter in this volume.

Another indication of the “pictorial turn” is the increas- ing sophistication of wordless picturebooks and the prizes that they have been awarded. For example, some of David Wiesner’s most successful and captivating picturebooks have been wordless, or nearly so, with words appearing only in the illustrations themselves or with extremely sparse text: Tuesday (1991) and Flotsam (2006) tell their stories with very little or no resort to words, and both won Caldecott Medals. Barbara Lehman is another master of the wordless picturebook format. She won the Caldecott Honor for The Red Book (2004), but that is merely one of her many examples. In most of her books, the visual sequence of illustrations is similar to slow-motion fi lm or

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a selection of stills from a larger fi lm in which the reader/ viewer must fi ll in the gaps in order to construct a coher- ent narrative.

Appeal to a Wide Range of Reader/Viewers It’s been a number of years since picturebooks were con- sidered interesting fare only for young children (Benedict & Carlisle, 1992). However, I believe we will continue to see a growing number of picturebooks whose topics, style, and general complexity (in terms of format and narrative) are meant for an ever-broadening audience. The Japanese fascination with manga, for example, points to a potential expanding adult audience for all types of sequential art.

Woolvs in the Sitee (Wild & Spudvilas, 2007), origi- nally published in Australia, is a tour de force of this appeal to older readers. Purposefully ambiguous, it is set in a city where something cataclysmic—a nuclear war? an epidemic? an extreme societal upheaval?—has taken place. Ben, the narrator, appears to be a young teenager. He begins his story ominously: “There are woolvs in the sitee…And soon they will kum…No won is spared.” The phonetic spelling used throughout the story adds to the pathos: perhaps Ben has been unable or unwilling to go to school for many years. Ben’s only friend is “Missus Ra- dinski,” an older woman who lives in the same building as Ben. It’s unclear whether she shares his deep fears, though she does come to rescue him when he mistakes a newly painted wall for the blue skies he has not seen in years and spontaneously rushes outside, only to be paralyzed by his fear of the “woolvs.” When Missus Radinski disappears, Ben makes a courageous resolve: he will not “scrooch” in his cave-like room any more, but will go to fi nd her. The last illustration of this almost unbearably powerful book depicts Ben, his head turned back, his eyes looking directly at the reader, with an expression of profound long- ing and invitation: “Joyn me.” The illustrations verge on the terrifying, with a dark palette and fi gures depicted in half-shadow; and the endpapers are jet black, with child- like scribbled drawings of wolves. Is this picturebook a metaphor for violence, poverty, and other intractable social problems, especially in large cities, that drive people to trust no one and to lose any sense of community life? Or is it something even more sinister, a futuristic dystopia that admits of no hope for humankind except the quixotic courage of a few young people? Readers of Woolvs must accept these ambiguities.

The content of some contemporary picturebooks certainly addresses serious sociocultural themes and problems. At the same time, we must not underestimate the ability of younger readers to navigate these complexi- ties. It is also important to note that any picturebook—no matter what the subject matter or topic—can be examined and enjoyed as an aesthetic object by older readers. Older readers can evaluate and critique any picturebook’s inte- gration of text and pictures and the ways in which all its

constituent elements complement and inform each other in order to achieve artistic wholeness.

The Postmodern Picturebook Metafi ctive or postmodern picturebooks, though con- tinuing to be a very small fraction of the total number of picturebooks published, have increased in importance as children’s literature scholars, practitioners, and librarians have become intrigued with their characteristics (Sipe & Pantaleo, 2008). These types of books, with their subver- sion of traditional picturebook (and narrative) conventions; their parodic play, their self-referentiality, and their ambi- guity and lack of resolution seem to have great potential for increasing children’s abilities to interpret both words and pictures (and their complex combinations) in new ways. Although postmodernism is not easily defi ned, a synthesis based on the work of a number of picturebook theorists suggests that there are fi ve defi ning characteristics of these exciting new books: (a) playfulness (the text functions as a playground for readers and does not take itself seri- ously, drawing attention to itself as a work of fi ction); (b) multiplicity of meanings (multiple possible pathways for readers’ interpretation because of nonlinear plots, a high degree of indeterminacy, ambiguity, and lack of resolu- tion); (c) intertextuality (a pastiche of references to many other visual and verbal texts); (d) subversion (a general tone of sarcasm, parody, or irony); and (e) blurring distinc- tions between “high” and popular culture, between authors and readers, and demarcations among literary genres (Sipe & McGuire, 2008). According to Lewis (2001), the most characteristic feature of postmodern picturebooks is their metafi ctive qualities. Unlike traditional stories, which tend to draw the reader into the secondary world (Benton, 1992) of the narrative, metafi ction pushes us away, as if to say, “don’t forget that what you are reading is an artifi ce—it’s not real” (Waugh, 1984).

Some of the best (and award-winning) exemplars of this type of picturebook are Black and White (Macaulay, 1990), which, according to the title page, may be read either as four separate stories or one complex unifi ed tale; The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Scieszka & Smith, 1992), which parodies a number of tra- ditional stories as well as playing with the conventions of picturebooks themselves; David Wiesner’s (2001) version of The Three Pigs, in which the wolf’s huffi ng and puffi ng blow the pigs out of their own story and into a series of other stories; and Wolves (Gravett, 2005), a book-within-a book that states baldly “It is a work of fi ction,” and gives an alternative ending for squeamish readers after Rabbit (the main character) is eaten by a wolf.

Postmodern picturebooks afford readers the possibility of being co-authors; they seem to invite an even higher level of intellectual engagement from readers than tradi- tional picturebooks. As well, postmodern picturebooks stimulate children to think about their own cognitive processes as they read; in other words, metafi ction may

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encourage children to be metacognitive about their own reading/interpreting process. Ambiguous, nonlinear narra- tives drive readers/viewers to new and more intellectually sophisticated levels of interpretation. Parody assumes familiarity with older forms and conventions of style, narrative structure, and the conventions of picturebooks themselves, so that readers/viewers can get the joke.

Finally, postmodern picturebooks question almost all established theories of text-picture relationships and reader response. Glasheen (2007) suggests that a book like Bad Day at Riverbend (Van Allsburg, 1995), which turns out to be populated by the characters in a coloring book, and ends with a realistic rendition of a child’s hand scribbling on the page, cannot be explained by existent theories of the relationships between words and pictures, because none of these theories contemplate “a picturebook whose text and illustrations are initially intended to confound the reader” (p. 3). Bad Day goes far beyond Nodelman’s (1988) idea that text and pictures stand in an ironic relationship to each other, and suggests a far more subversive relation- ship: words and pictures continually destabilize each other. In other postmodern picturebooks, there is no real distinction between words and pictures because the words are so integrated into the illustrations themselves that the distinction blurs and fi nally fades away. It is perhaps no accident that one of the favorite media of postmodern picturebook illustrators is the collage (often incorporat- ing seemingly random scraps of words), a perfect way to represent our fragmented, non-unifi ed world and us as non-unifi ed subjects.

Informational Picturebooks There is a growing importance of the picturebook as a format for informational books. Steve Jenkins (Page, 2003) is one of the masters of the information picturebook, with his stunning paper collage illustrations. In her careful re- search, Christine Pappas (2006) has done the fi eld a great service with her carefully crafted typology of different types of informational books.

Photographs are a natural medium for informational books. One excellent example is Where in the Wild? Cam- oufl aged Creatures Concealed and Revealed (Schwartz & Schy, 2007). The message of the book is that if you can’t be seen, you might “avoid a prowling predator.” Color photographs appear opposite well-written poems that give hints about what’s hiding in the picture. In a smaller version of the photograph, readers can fi nd the animal or insect. For example, on one of the photos, a ladybug ap- pears on a fl ower petal.

For older readers, another important example of the beauty and sophistication of informational picturebooks is Molly Bang’s (2000) Nobody Particular: One Woman’s Fight to Save the Bays. The book concerns Diane Wilson, a woman whose family were (and are) shrimpers. They fi sh in the bays of the eastern Texas coast. When legal- sized shrimp started to disappear because of the pollution

from six chemical plants in the area, it became critical for something to be done. Although Wilson was not an envi- ronmentalist or a politician, she took up the cause to save her community’s livelihood. The reader opens the book and immediately the account of this fi ght to preserve and maintain the fragile environment begins. The bibliographic information faces the title page—the endpapers begin the story. Bang creates a color background image for each double page spread showing the water and the land that is the setting for this account. She overlays each color painting with two black and white images (one on the verso and one for the recto) that resemble cells in a comic book. The images and the text sometimes break the edge of these overlays; this creates a dynamic quality and adds a sense of action. The story is told in the fi rst person voice of Diane Wilson. Borders are created on each double page opening by these black and white overlays on the color paintings. In the color borders, in small white type, there is information about shrimp, what they need to thrive, and what their place is in the ecosystem of the bays. The double spread paintings that constitute the front and back endpapers are virtually identical, except that on the fl yleaf of the back endpaper, there is “An Update on the Story;” on the pastedown, there are fi gures of two people walk- ing toward the right-hand edge of the page. The speech balloons suggest that Diane could be off to fi ght another environmental issue. In this way, Bang has used all the space available to convey her message.

Incorporation of Multi-Modalities Picturebooks, even the most traditional, are by nature multi-modal: visual and verbal sign systems constitute two semiotic modes of communicating thought and emotion to reader/viewers. However, it is becoming increasingly common to see the incorporation of light (as in The Very Lonely Firefl y, 1995) and sound (as in The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, 1999), both by Eric Carle. These additional modalities are made possible by the incorporation of small computer chips in the books. Pop-up books (the more for- mal term is “movable books”) add an element of motion and surprise, often on every double page spread, as the illustration becomes three-dimensional. Robert Sabuda and his partner Matthew Reinhart (2008)—truly paper engineers— are indisputably the masters of this form. David Carter (2008) is another up-and-coming movable book artist, whose ouvre often consists of abstract designs in contrast to Sabuda and Reinhart’s representations of real scenes and objects.

It is not a recent innovation to include an audio cassette or CD with a picturebook, so that children can listen to the words of the story (sometimes with the inclusion of sound effects) while they follow along by looking at the illustrations and turning the pages. However, this com- mon addition has been given new life in recent years. For example, the story The People Could Fly is now published (Hamilton, 2004) as a separate picturebook well after its

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incorporation into Virginia Hamilton’s (1985) collection of African American folktales with the same title. Superbly designed with Leo and Diane Dillon’s evocative illustra- tions, the book is further enriched with a CD of the story narrated by Hamilton and James Earl Jones. Hamilton’s voice lives on in this narration (she died in 2002), and the alternation of her lilting, magical tone with Jones’ basso profundo makes this a duet of sound that is truly remark- able. In Jazz on a Saturday Night, also illustrated by the Dillons (2007), there is an interesting variation on the use of an accompanying CD. Rather than simply reading the story, the Dillons take turns in introducing jazz as an American musical style, as well as describing the various instruments (echoed in the endpapers) that are used by the performers. Another example of an innovative use of a CD that accompanies a picturebook is Don Sheen’s (2002) Yellow Umbrella, a beautiful wordless book in which the CD includes one track with music composed specifi cally for listening while viewing the picture sequence; another track with an accompanying song with lyrics printed at the end of the book; and a fi nal set of tracks that expand the music for each double page spread, for a slower and more contemplative “reading.”

A much more far-reaching use of multi-modalities is present in Elisa Gutierrez’s (2005) Picturescape, already described as the story of a Canadian boy’s experience at an art museum. The title itself can be read as a pun (Hornberger, personal communication, 2006): this book is a “picture-scape” in that it recounts the boy’s magi- cally entering a series of landscape paintings and prints, traversing all of Canada, from the Pacifi c to the Atlantic. The title can also be read as “picture escape,” because the boy’s world, depicted monochromatically in tones of gray, is greatly expanded by his magical trek from colorful painting to painting: he has escaped the dull world of the quotidian and into the world of art. The intriguing endpa- pers chronicle this change: the front endpapers are a series of vertical stripes in shades of black and grey, whereas the back endpapers continue the series of stripes, which are rendered in colorful shades and tints of blue, yellow, green, and red. What is even more interesting about this book is that is has its own website (www.picturescape.ca), which has a wonderful array of extensions. Thus, the almost in- fi nite resources of the Internet, with links leading to other links—a limitless hypertextuality—are part and parcel of this inventive and beautifully designed picturebook.

More Restrained and Sophisticated Use of New Media After the initial (almost giddy) fascination with the power- ful means of reproducing color, picturebook illustrators have started to purposely tone down their exuberance and use technological advances in more discretionary ways. The Olivia books (e.g., Falconer, 2000), and The Secret Olivia Told Me (Joy, 2007) hark back to a retro look of 1950’s illustration with their spare use of color. Another example of this restraint is Peter Sis’s (2007) The Wall,

in which bright red, an icon for the repressions of com- munism, is the only color on most pages. The infl uence of Western ideas and freedom is always signaled by a wider range of colors. The Prague Spring of 1968, in which there was a tremendous opening to Western musi- cians and poets and an intense feeling of liberation, is symbolized by the single double page spread that is in full color, imitating the “psychedelic” palette of the late 1960s. This single spread is made all the more powerful by the absence of color (other than the ubiquitous red) in the other illustrations.

Adobe Photoshop’s infl uence, initially greeted with great enthusiasm by illustrators and perhaps overused as a gimmick, has also been used in more sophisticated ways, and in concert with more traditional methods of producing images. As Salisbury (2007) makes clear, “the early days of Photoshop were dominated by the layering aesthetic, as so many designers were infatuated with the new toy. But where the artistic vision drives the work, the tool becomes less and less visible” (p. 7). For example, William Low’s illustrations for The Day the Stones Walked (Barron, 2007), a story about the last days of the Easter Island civilization, seem to have been produced with a paintbrush and acrylic or oil paints in a quite painterly style. It’s surprising to read the publishing information and to discover that the images have been executed solely with Adobe Photoshop.

Blurring of Formats and Hybrid Formats The distinctions among comics, graphic novels, and picturebooks are blurring. I predict that this trend will continue, until the distinctions become less and less useful, and we begin to think of picturebooks, comics, and graphic novels as forms of “sequential art.” We are in need of theories of sequential art that take into consideration the similarities and the differences among comics, graphic novels, picturebooks, and digital media of various types (games, hypertextual visual arrays, etc.). Without these theories, we will be left trying to fi t new and ground-breaking works of visual/verbal art into the Procrustean beds of our old defi nitions of these forms and formats.

It was an intense pleasure for me to be present when the American Library Association announced the 2008 book award winners. One of the great surprises—perhaps the surprise—of the awards ceremony was that the Caldecott Medal—given “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children” was won by Brian Selznick (2007) for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I think this will come to be considered a historic moment in the evolution of both the picturebook and the Caldecott Award, because, for the fi rst time, a book looking very unlike the standard picturebook was the judges’ choice. Selznick’s book is well over 500 pages in length, and consists of passages of text, some almost as long as the standard chapter in a novel, interspersed with black and

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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white drawings whose layout resembles a graphic novel. The illustrations are never accompanied by text on the same page, however. Thus, we can see in the choice of this innovative book a sterling example of the blurring of genres and formats that I have described. Is this book a pic- turebook? The 2008 Caldecott Committee clearly thought so. Certainly it shares some of the qualities of traditional picturebooks, the most important being the necessity of both words and pictures to tell the story. The verbal text of Hugo Cabret would be impossible to understand with- out the visual text, and the illustrations, by themselves, would make no sense, either. So the sine qua non of the picturebook—the synergy and equal weight given to both words and pictures—is clearly present. However, the sheer length of the book—it’s about three inches thick—suggests a novel. And the layout of the illustrations resembles the cells in comic books or graphic novels. Our normalized categories are not terribly useful in describing this book: it is a brilliant hybrid of elements from all these genres and formats. Thus, the Caldecott decision represents a watershed in the ways in which we think about the combination of text and pictures, and it promises to spur artists and authors to even more creative departures from the standard format of the picturebook.

Another example of the blurring of formats is the Aus- tralian author/illustrator Shaun Tan’s (2007) The Arrival, a breathtaking tour de force that tells the story of an im- migrant to a foreign land, with all the adventure, challenge, despair, and triumph of learning an entirely new culture. See the chapter by Campano and Ghiso, this volume, for further discussion of this remarkable book. Is this book a very long wordless picturebook? A wordless graphic novel? An imitation of a fi lm? A wordless, cell-less comic book? Again, the categories we have constructed do not do justice to this book.

The implications of the new forms of sequential art (in- cluding innovative forms of the picturebook) for literacy— what we mean by literacy for children in the twenty-fi rst century as well as how literacy is used—are enormous and far-reaching. More than twenty years ago, Margaret Meek (1988) wrote a small but extremely infl uential and subtle booklet called “How Texts Teach What Readers Learn.” If we take Meek’s title seriously, we are driven to the conclusion that, as the types of texts children encounter change and proliferate, so will the lessons they learn from them. The more active engagement of the types of read- ers/viewers I have been referring to will no doubt rise to ever-higher levels. This, in turn, has profound implications for how literacies (in the plural) are acquired both in and out of school (Anstey & Bull, 2006). The picturebook, as a format, arose as something new with Caldecott, and it will continue to change and merge with other forms and formats as it evolves. Paradoxically, picturebooks stand both in the traditional historical evolution of children’s literature, and are poised to be on the cutting edge, promot- ing all types of new literacies.

Literature References

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York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Sabuda, R., & Reinhart, M. (2008). Encyclopedia prehistorica: The

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creatures concealed and revealed. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press.

Scieszka, J., & Smith, L. (1992). The Stinky Cheese Man and other fairly stupid tales. New York, NY: Viking.

Selznick, B. (2007). The invention of Hugo Cabret. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Sheen, D. I. (2002). Yellow umbrella (J. S. Lin, Illus.). La Jolla, CA: Kane-Miller.

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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Sis, P. (2007). The wall: Growing up behind the iron curtain. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Stevens, J. (1995). From pictures to words: A book about making a book. New York, NY: Holiday House.

Tan, S. (2007). The arrival. New York, NY: Scholastic. Van Allsburg, C. (1995). Bad day at Riverbend. Boston, MA:

Houghton Miffl in. Wiesner, D. (1991). Tuesday. New York, NY: Clarion. Wiesner, D. (2001). The three pigs. New York, NY: Clarion. Wiesner, D. (2006). Flotsam. New York, NY: Clarion. Wild, M. (2007). Woolvs in the Sitee (A. Spudvilas, Illus).

Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. Zelinsky, P. (1997). Rapunzel. New York, NY: Dutton Children’s

Books.

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Anstey, M., & Bull, G. (2006). Teaching and learning multiliteracies: Changing times, changing literacies. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Bader, B. (1976). American picturebooks: From Noah’s ark to the beast within. New York, NY: Macmillan.

Bang, M. (1991). Picture this: Perception & composition. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.

Benedict, & Carlisle (Eds.). (1992). Beyond words: Picture books for older readers and writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Benjamin, W. (1936/2000). The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. In M. G. Durham & D. M Kellner (Eds.), Media and cultural studies keyworks (pp. 48–70). London: Blackwell.

Benton, M. (1992). Secondary worlds: Literature teaching and the visual arts. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

Cech, J. (1983–84). Remembering Caldecott: The Three Jovial Huntsmen and the art of the picturebook. The Lion and the Unicorn, 7/8, 110–119.

Cherland, M. (1992). Gendered readings: Cultural restraints upon response to literature. The New Advocate, 5, 187–198.

Chick, K. (2008). Fostering an appreciation for all kinds of families: Picturebooks with gay and lesbian themes. Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, 46, 15–22.

Considine, D. M., & Haley, G. E. (1999). Visual messages: Integrating imagery into instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Teacher Ideas Press.

Davies, B. (1990). Lived and imaginary narrative and their place in taking oneself up as a gendered being. Australian Psychologist, 25, 318–333.

Dewey, J. (1934/1980). Art as experience. New York, NY: Perigee.

Doonan, J. (1993). Looking at pictures in picturebooks. Exeter, UK: Thimble Press.

Eisner, W. (1985). Comics and sequential art. Tamarac, FL: Poorhouse Press.

Gadsden, V. L. (2008). The arts and education: Knowledge generation, pedagogy, and the discourse of learning. Review of Research in Education, 32, 29–61.

Glasheen, G. (2007). Might as well read it backwards: The subverted text-picture relations in Bad Day at Riverbend. Unpublished manuscript.

Golden, J. (1990). The narrative symbol in childhood literature: Explorations of the construction of text. New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter.

Iser, W. (1978). The act of reading: A theory of aesthetic response. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Kidd, K. B. (2004). Making American boys: Boyology and the feral tale. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Kiefer, B. (2008). What is a picturebook, anyway? In L. R. Sipe & S. Pantaleo (Eds.), Postmodern picturebooks: Play, parody, and self-referentiality (pp. 9–21). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: The grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.

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Lewis, D. (1996). Going along with Mr. Gumpy: Polysystemy and play in the modern picturebook. Signal, 80, 105–119.

Lewis, D. (2001). Reading contemporary picturebooks: Picturing text. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Mackey, M. (2007, December). Narrative understanding: Book, fi lm, game. Paper presented at the National Reading Conference, Austin, TX.

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Marriott, S. (1998). Picture books and the moral imperative. In J. Evans (Ed.), What’s in the picture? Responding to illustrations in picture books (pp. 1–24). London: Paul Chapman.

Martin, M. (2004). Black gold: Milestones of African American children’s picture books, 1845–2002. New York, NY: Routledge.

McNair, J. (2008). The representation of authors and illustrators of color in school-based book clubs. Language Arts, 85, 193–201.

Meek, M. (1988). How texts teach what readers learn. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Thimble Press.

Meek, M. (1992). Children reading—now. In M. Styles, E. Bearne, & V. Watson (Eds.), After Alice: Exploring children’s literature (pp. 172–187). London: Cassell.

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Mitchell, W. J. T. (1994). Picture theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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Sims Bishop, R. (2007). Free within ourselves: The development of African American children’s literature. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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Sipe, L. R. (2001). Using picturebooks to teach art history. Studies in Art Education, 42, 197–213.

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Sipe, L. R., & McGuire, C. E. (2006a). Picturebook endpapers: Resources for literary and aesthetic interpretation. Children’s Literature in Education, 37, 291–304.

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Lehr (Ed.), Shattering the looking glass: Challenge, risk, & controversy in children’s literature (pp. 273–288). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

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Point of Departure Chris Raschka

As it turns out, simple picture books are not so simple after all. Even for those of us who spend our days writing them, painting them, editing them, and doing everything else to make them, it is extraordinarily helpful and instructive to read it stated so well and thoroughly by Professor Sipe. While it is true that we sometimes go to seemingly endless pains over the smallest of details of book making, pains we know only too well, we often forget why we do it.

Professor Sipe reminds us why. And he presents forthrightly the idea that I have always held dear, that is, that it is the book itself which is the work of art, not the illustrations, not the text, and not anything else, but the book as an object, in all of its materialness. It is not an ethereal idea but an embodied idea, an object, a sculpture, and for some four-year-olds I know, a bit of performance art as well.

William Wordsworth put this idea this way: “The matter always comes out of the manner.” For me, the manner is the picture book, and it is this manner that Professor Sipe has so well detailed.

Let me describe how I have been tripped up over the years by a couple of these details.

The fi rst involves the basic idea of the gutter, that spot in the middle of a two-page spread where the pages come together at the spine. This is perhaps the fi rst thing that is pointed out to any would be illustrator—mind the gutter.

In my sixth picture book, Mysterious Thelonious, I had set for myself the task of rendering, at least in part, some aspect of the music of the great jazz composer, Thelonious Monk, in a picture book. The means I struck to achieve this

were to map very exactly the 12 tones of Western classical music (A A♯(B♭) B C C♯ etc.) onto the 12 hues of the chro- matic color wheel (red, red-orange, orange, orange-yellow, etc.) and to apply this to a favorite Monk composition, Mysterioso. Each double-page spread was to cover a four beat measure of music in a 12 measure phrase.

Consequently, I laid out a grid dividing each spread into eight vertical columns in order to break each beat in half as dictated by the eight notes of the piece, i.e., half a quarter note, there being four quarter notes to a measure in 4/4 time. I then split the columns into squares to mimic the up and downness of pitch, matching each square to its appropriate color, surrounded by the corresponding harmonic color. Then, to complete the book, I created a text, the individual syllables of which appearing over each colored square.

A number of months of dedicated work passed until I had created a perfectly true, by my own paradigm anyway, translation of aural-time symbols (music) into graphic- spatial symbols (art). I was very pleased.

Only one problem: I had forgotten about the gutter. On the afternoon before I was to deliver the completed art to the publisher (Orchard), a worry fl ickered to life some- where in the back of the more practical half of my brain: What if the middle text-fragments, positioned as they were, crashed into each other at the gutter? I made a tissue overlay with the text traced onto it and slipped this over another book to check; my worst fears were realized.

To say I was distraught is to say Rumpelstiltskin was a little miffed. I was beside myself.

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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In the end, after some consultation with a patient pro- duction manager, I decided to carefully slice each precious (to me, anyway) painting into two pieces along a zigzag line following the lines of the design, then cut an exactly corresponding piece of paper to add precisely one and fi ve-eighths inches to the spread, which is the amount I calculated I needed, and then match this to the oddly shaped hole I had created, fi nally adding color to blend with its surroundings and gluing the now three pieces of paper onto a stiffi sh board. The result in the published book was to create the impression that when laid open, the bend of the paper and the plunging of the gutter produced a visually even beat of the eighth-note color-squares across the one bar, two-page spread (see above).

I sincerely hope that I never have to do that again. The second instance really came before this, but I men-

tion it last because it has affected each book project since. I was painting the fi nished art for another picture book about a great jazz musician—Charlie Parker Played Be Bop. Again, it was the formulation of the style and manner of art that kept tripping me; I knew that the art had to fl ow and not be so detailed and interesting that it slowed down the cadence of the text, which in this case was paramount, and yet it couldn’t be too abstract because I was presenting a real person, Charlie Parker.

I brooded about this again for many weeks. But I did not stop my ordinary life. For instance, I did the laundry

I decided—Yes. Thank you, Larry, for your work, which makes my own

seem a little less silly.

across Broadway Avenue from my apartment. I put in a load to wash. I returned to my studio and drew a picture of a cat in charcoal. I put the load in the dryer. I returned to my studio and looked at the cat. I liked the cat. But then I worried: Was it all right for an illustration, the drawing of it anyway, to take only the time it takes for a rinse cycle?

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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Point of Departure David Wiesner

Professor Sipe gives a wonderfully thorough overview of the world of the picturebook. I would like to draw atten- tion to one aspect of the picturebook that is so obvious as to be taken for granted—its length. The brevity of the picturebook lets children easily hold the complete story experience in their minds. The limited length also lets me, as an author and illustrator, have a vision of the book as a whole in my mind throughout the creation process.

When I am writing and designing a book, I am simulta- neously working on the layout for the entire book and on individual double page spreads. Each spread must convey a specifi c piece of the story. It must also move readers to the turn of the page and set up their reaction to the next spread. Do I want to build suspense at the page turn? Do I want readers to be surprised when they see what’s on the other side? Do I want them to laugh? Because there are so few pages in a picturebook, the act of turning those pages is one of the most important considerations in creating one.

I must have an overarching design for the spreads to work within. I try to come up with a layout that is visually elegant and has a direct relationship to the story. In my book Sector 7, the story takes place in two locations— on the ground and high in the sky at the Sector 7 Cloud Dispatch Center (where the clouds get, via blueprints, the assignments for the formations they make each day). The fi rst and fi nal one-third of the book take place on the ground, in the real world. The middle third takes place in the sky, the fantasy world.

I wanted each place to have its own look and feel. In the earthbound sections, the images on each page are con- tained within a rectangle surrounded by a three-quarter- inch white border. The rectangle can be a single image or divided into smaller panels. When the story moves into the sky, the format changes to full-bleed double page spreads, i.e., the pictures now extend all the way to the edge of the paper. Some of these spreads have an inset rectangle that is a single image or divided into smaller panels.

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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POINT OF DEPARTURE

Framing the images in the earthbound sections with a white border puts the story at a distance. The reader is ob- serving the action from outside. When the story moves into the fantasy world, the frame is removed. As the pictures ex- pand to the edge of the page and beyond, the reader is drawn into that world and made a part of it. It is a simple but effec- tive way to visually separate the two realities of the story. The design of a picturebook can encompass not only the pages where the story takes place, but also the cover, the title page, the endpapers, and even the binding. Appar- ently these things have a name, the peritext. Who knew? They can be used in many ways to help set up the story or add inviting or complementary imagery. I had an idea for the title page of Sector 7 that I was really excited about. The story is wordless, so the only text that needed to be typeset was the title, my name, the publisher’s imprint, and the copyright material. It occurred to me that I could avoid using any type at all by making the information on the title page part of a picture. If I made the title page a close-up view of a blueprint—like the ones the clouds used—I could draw all the text as part of the art: My name would be listed as the architect, the copyright material as building specs, etc.

Sector 7 is 48 pages long and contains a lot of complex imagery. My drawing for the title page was also very complex. There was a lot for the eye to absorb. In fact,

there was too much in the context of the rest of the book. The eye needed to land in a simpler, quieter place before entering into the intricacies of the story. So, instead of the blueprint, the title page became a simple neutral-toned background, with the few necessary words typeset in a classic font. I loved the concept of the blueprint, but it didn’t serve the visual fl ow of the book.

Had I chosen to make Sector 7 longer—a graphic novel, say—I could have used that blueprint title page. I would have had the room to surround it with blank pages to create a cushion for the eye. A longer book allows for the fuller exploration of picture elements and narrative tangents. But in a picturebook the author and artist must pare a story down to its essential elements. It is the concise nature of the storytelling that is unique to picturebooks. One of the hardest parts of creating a picturebook is deciding what to leave out, my blueprint title page being a case in point. I am often heartbroken about omitting great images or sequences that, in the end, were not central to the story or did not move the story forward.

I think of the picturebook as a kind of Chinese tangram puzzle. Like those puzzles, a picturebook has a few basic elements that have to fi t together perfectly to reveal their simple, precise shape. When I am working, I strive to reach the point where there is nothing I could take away from the story and there is nothing I need to add.

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, edited by Shelby Wolf, et al., Routledge, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=957154. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2018-06-29 10:17:40.

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