Saturday 12 December 2009

National Post article

Metatexts for kids

By Beverley Brenna

The digital age has prompted developments in children’s literature consistent with the changing forms and formats, changing perspectives and changing boundaries that readers of all ages are experiencing. Described in terms of Radical Change theory by Dr. Eliza Dresang, a professor at the University of Washington, some of these changes within books are evident in the five picture books shortlisted for the 2009 Governor General’s Award for children’s literature (illustration). ...

Tim Beiser’s Bradley McGogg the Very Fine Frog (Tundra, 24 pp.; $19.99), illustrated by Rachel Berman, performs in rhyming couplets the story of Bradley’s quest for a suitable meal. Berman’s watercolour gouache on rag paper extends outside its frames, a decision implying the story’s awareness of itself in an illustrative attempt at “metafiction.” Very traditional, however, is the perspective that different creatures eat different things, inspiring Bradley to criticize the choices of others as “strange.” Listed for ages two to five, the complexity of the language and the hints at mystery in the dark patches of background illustration may be more suitable for ages five and up. ...

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