Review Blog

May 19 2013

Words and pictures: A multimodal approach to picture books by Helen de Silva Joyce and John Gaudin

cover image

Phoenix Education, 2011. ISBN 9781921586231.
Recommended as a Teacher Resource. As the current curriculum documents refer to using and creating multimodal texts this book offers an invaluable introduction to and analysis of the most basic, common and accessible of this text type, The Picture Book.
Aimed at informing teachers, the book leads us through the development of Picture books from a historical perspective looking at the earliest forms of Picture books to the modern texts. The texts referred to are then used throughout the following chapters as examples as the authors explore picture books as narratives explaining terminology and introducing a framework to analyse  illustrations and explore how words and pictures work together to tell the story.
The final chapter provides an analysis of three picture books using the framework provided, focussing on narrative theory and the grammar of design linking the words and images and introducing literary genres to children. The suggested classroom activities are supplemented by possible answers to support teachers new to the concepts being covered.
Extensive references both written and web based provide opportunities for further investigation and reflection whilst the list of picture books used is comprehensive and include many commonly available in most primary school libraries.
With the current emphasis on multimodal texts being used in all subject areas, using this book will help develop an awareness of how the picture book has employed words and pictures to tell a story and manipulate the reader's response, teachers and students will be better placed to analyse the design of web pages, advertisement and other multimodal texts.
Sue Keane

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