The Postmodern Picture Book Essay

The Postmodern Picture Book Essay

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This assignment will begin by defining and looking at the history of the postmodern picture book. It will examine what defines these books and how it combines text, images, and paratext creating a story which has meaning for both adults and children. Analysing the picturebook ‘Voices in the Park’, by Anthony Browne will illustrate the use of text, images, and parody; also it is a good example of intertextuality and non-linear. It will use the postmodern picturebook ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak to analyse the basis for their appeal to different age groups, looking in particular at their design and use of space. The assignment will conclude by identifying the elements needed for a successful postmodern picture book and how they appeal to both adult and children.

To define the term postmodern is very difficult, we can start off by saying it is representative of now, of today’s society. Bette Goldstone in, ‘Postmodern Experiments,’ describes it as being an example of societies ethical values, bestowing this to future generations. Goldstone recognises picture books as giving the author and reader a stage to be able to interpret the stories through the flexibility of pictures and words. Picturebooks are rapidly developing into a more, ‘Sophisticated genre,’ than has been before, (Goldstone, 2008, p.321).
A postmodern picture book is a specific genre of picture books. They are seen as being different from anything that came before; it could be described as requiring the reader's involvement with constructing the meaning of the text and imagery. Many of the books have little text and allow the reader and illustrations to tell the story as with, ‘Re-Zoom,’ by Istvan Banyai which has no text but is described by Goldsto...

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...tle frightening, which appeals to children. It reflects Max's imagination and his anger. The postmodern picturebook can be read over and over again, each time the reader will discover something new however old they are.


Browne, A. (1999 [1998]) Voices in the Park. London: Picture Corgi.

Browne, A, 2010, ‘The Children’s Laureate’ available Accessed 10/03/11

Goldstone, B. (2009) ‘Postmodern Experiments’ in Maybin, J. and Watson, N. J. (eds) Children’s Literature: Approaches and Territories. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 321.

EA300 DVD 2, no 6 ‘An Introduction to Illustration: Martin Salisbury’.

EA 300 DVD 2, no 7 ‘Interview with Anthony Browne’.

Handler Spitz, H, 2010, Postmodern at Bedtime. Available: Accessed 13/03/2011

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