Picture Book Analysis


          Choose an appealing award-winning picture book from any genre. Identify the book by author/illustrator, title, publisher and date, then, in your first paragraph describe why you chose the book and why it appeals to you. Include a discussion of “format and first impressionsalong with this.  In subsequent paragraphs discuss the aspects of the picture book listed below.  Not all may apply to your book, but most of them should.  Use the table in Chapter 4 to help you look at the visual art aspects of children’s literature and review the questions in the text in Chapter 4.1.


Format and first impressions

            Consider the size, shape, cover, endpapers, layout, binding, paper.  Is there a reason why the book is tall or wide or square? What is this book going to be like?


Mood and atmosphere

            How are color, line, shape, light and dark, or black and white used to create the mood and atmosphere of various scenes?  How does mood and atmosphere in the pictures change as the story changes?  Identify the media if you can, (sometimes there is a note somewhere in the book, or you can find information on the artist’s website), and reflect upon the importance of the artistic technique and choice media to mood and atmosphere.


Style of Art

            Consider whether the style of art is consistent throughout the book or whether it changes for some reason.  Does the art resemble or reveal the influence of styles discussed in chapter 4.5? How would you describe the style?  What other artists’ work are you reminded of?  How does the art in this book compare with that in other works by this same artist?


Meaning of visual objects:   Look for symbols, Freudian symbols, codes, or gestures.


Pictorial dynamics: Consider two-dimensional effects, the importance of size, location, composition, figure and ground, movement from left-to-right or right-to-left, top to bottom, whether objects stand out or recede because of color, do colors link objects?    


Three-dimensional effects: Examine perspective, point of view.  Are we looking from above, from below?  Focus – long shots or close-ups?  Middle distance?  Is there overlap or separation of images?  How are light sources and shadows used?  Blocking (in sense of theater – how do positions imply social or emotional relationships)?


Movement and time: How are they shown?  Through incomplete actions, linear continuance, distortion, left-to-right movement, continuous narrative, context, context of other pictures?


Relationship between words and pictures:  Consider what is said and not said, shown and not shown.  Consider the placement of the text, and the pacing of the page turns to create suspense.