#8 Visual/Verbal Relations in Illustrated Children's Books

March 2, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Ulrich C. Knoepflmacher, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Picture books are hybrid texts that can lure children and grownups as joint participants in the pleasurable experience of an unfolding visual and verbal narrative.  This seminar will examine books authored by writer-illustrators whose creation of different kinds of text-image relationships raises some larger questions.  Do pictures merely complement a text or do they offer an altogether different dimension of meaning?  When and how do the responses of a child viewer overlap with those of an adult reader?  When and how are their responses at odds?  

We shall start with a close analysis of Maurice Sendak’s masterpiece Where the Wild Things Are before we discuss his brilliant but problematic Higglety, Pigglety, Pop!  We shall then turn to two more recent texts:  Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann and Franny, Randy and The Over-the-Edge Cat Person by a Princeton author/illustrator who will welcome your scrutiny.   If time permits, we may end with a brief look at samples from earlier writer/illustrators such as Rudyard Kipling and William Blake.