Reference: (Readings for this Unit)
Didactic Children’s Literature [BL]
Nodelman, excerpt from Hidden Adult [QUT]
Gaiman, The Graveyard Book [P]
The Hero’s Journey [BL]
Hourihan, Introduction (QUT)
Elements & Codes of Narrative [BL]
Moebius, “Introduction to Picture Book Codes” [QUT]
Analysing Picture Books [BL]
Anstey, “It’s Not All Black and White” [QUT]
Extract on Narration in Stinky Cheese Man [BL]
West, “Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” [QUT]
“ Eleanor Cameron vs. Roald Dahl” [BL]
Dixon, excerpt [BL]
Keene, excerpt [BL]
A Critical Analysis of Thelma The Unicorn , written and Illustrated by Aaron Blabey.
The picture book Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey (2015), follows the experience of a female pony who believes that her life is not as happy and is somewhat incomplete because she is not a unicorn.
Points to remember: (lecturers note)
Plan your essay – so that it has a logical flow from introduction to 3 or 4 major paragraphs (paras) each one devoted to one main idea (expressed in a topic sentence at the beginning of the para) then onto the conclusion. It was obvious that some people had either not planned their essay or had not followed it as the discussion sometimes ranged over all sorts of areas with no logical sequence.
Terminology: – this is a piece of assessment and the essay is to determine your understanding of what we have been learning – so use the terminology – narration, focalisation, point of view etc …
Avoid definite statements “Young children would not understand the intertextual references … How do we know? Use qualifiers such as “Many young children …” OR “Young children may not understand” – these examples put the qualifier on different aspects of the discussion young children in the first and understanding in the second.
The tense of the verbs – often students use past tense but critical work tends to use present because the illustrations are still present on the page and they are still creating an effect on readers – so “illustrations incorporated aspects of …” should be “incorporate …” Now, I guarantee that you could go through my lectures and find where I have made these mistakes – we all lapse into these pitfalls sometimes
Singular vs plural: often singular with an s on end or where subject is a distance from the verb …
Citing authors out of context : Quite a few students used Moebius or Mallan or Nodelman to support something they said in relation to their focus text and the way it read was as if Mallan (or whoever) was writing about the specific picture book or novel under discussion. The best way around that is to say “Mallan (1999), writing in another context, said …”
Prior knowledge – a lot of students did not use opportunities to show prior learning from the lectures – on p/b for older readers, etc
Never finish a para (and certainly not the whole essay) with a quotation – always follow the quotation with a summarising sentence eg “quote” then you write: “This underlines my own observations about the significance, ambiguity and originality of the images.” Academic convention also suggests it is not appropriate to start a new para with a quotation from a scholarly critic – mainly because you should lead with a topic sentence of your own and then maybe support it with a quotation.
Titles of texts should be italicised – I know Blackboard doesn’t allow it in many cases so forces us to use “ “ but the convention is italics.
Reading for Pleasure? Very few students had anything to say about this issue let alone say that it often has to compete with relevance to the curriculum
Postmodern picture book – Many students named their focus text as being a postmodern picture book when it is not necessarily so. Some made claims of postmodernism based on appeal because of something Anstey said. “ appeal to a range of different age groups” is NOT necessarily a characteristic of postmodern picture books but rather an effect – because of their characteristics (name them) they appeal to … Also some people’s understanding of what constitutes a postmodern picture book is very superficial I am afraid to say – not surprising as we mentioned it so briefly. I did the equivalent of 3 years f/t study on Postmodern picture books and still feel there is much more to learn … best not to throw terminology around like that
The tricky thing is that while we have moved on from postmodernism many illustrators and writers have adopted some of the devices but not necessarily the ‘ethos’ (for want of a better word). These latter examples are fairly sequential, have a fairly conventional ending and don’t engage with some of the existential questions that bothered the postmodernists – what is real, who am I, OR interrogate questions of gender, race, difference etc … If in doubt, don’t label it as postmodern – maybe call it playful or resistant. [sorry, to sound grumpy]
Citing comments from lectures : – very grey area – I usually let it pass but it is not acceptable in most arenas … say Allan (2016) but usually it is attributable to someone else eg Stephens, Nodelman
Academic convention suggests that one should not start a para with a critic’s name as this has the critic leading or making the point rather than the student making a point and using reference to the critic to support it. Sometimes we get around this in a ‘cosmetic’ way by saying According to Nodelman, ….” But we need to look at the purpose of the para and formulate a topic sentence which anticipates and leads into the discussion …
Use of who and that – who for a person and which or that for an animal or object
Bias – quite a few people wrote of unbiased reviews – surely by their very nature they are biased?
Redundant phrases (one of my pet bugbears) “It has been found” or “It has been noted “– most times if you delete these phrases the sentence will stand on its own eg – It can be seen that (It has been found that) A Sunny Day evoked different responses …
Illustrations – need to be labelled Fig. 1, Fig. 2 etc and referred to in the text – As simple as (See Fig. 1)