PICTURE BOOKS

WITH TEXT AND PICTURE INCONSISTENCIES


The Ship of Fools. Hieronymus Bosch. c. 1490-1500 Oil on wood, Musee du Louvre, Paris

Connie Ann Kirk

Compiled, Annotated, with notes from contributors paraphrased (unless directly quoted)

Contributors include:

Gail Aaron, Sandra Anderson, Jennifer Armstrong, Laura Atkins, Jill Brooks, Bev Clark, Dorothy Clark, David Clayton, Ann Dowker, Chris Doyle, Clare Ferguson, Beth Gallaway, Kate Ghiselin, Nick Glass, Linda Goettina, Yvonne Hanley, Tina Hanlon, Jacqueline Hicks, Christine Hill, Martha Hixon, Deborah Hopkinson, Deidre Johnson, Richard Kerper, Megan Issac, Diane Langston, Frenchie Lee, Julius Lester, Ellen Loughran, Dick Macgillivray, Sharron McElmeel, Beverly Michaels, Kerry Mockler, Perry Nodelman, Judith Ridge, Helen Schinske, Karen Simonetti, Kelly Swain, Laureen Tedesco, Karla Walters, Gail Wellman, Jane Stemp Wickenden, Susie Wilde, Sue Woestehoff.

(NOTE: PICTURE BOOK OR PICTURE STORYBOOK? This list of titles does not differentiate between these distinctions. However, Nick Glass and others mentioned that consideration of what exactly is a picture book is relevant to discussion of inconsistencies between words and pictures.).

OUTWARDLY "PLAYFUL" OR 'EXTENDING TEXT' INCONSISTENCIES

These books were suggested as having outwardly playful mismatches between the text and the pictures on at least one page, if not the whole book. The inconsistencies are regarded as 'intentional' and exaggerate the irony that Perry Nodelman, for example, argues always exists between the two media in this form. Children typically notice and enjoy the inconsistencies.

A IS FOR SALAD, Mike Lester

A DAY WITH WILBUR ROBINSON, William Joyce.

A MOUNTAIN OF BLINTZES, Barbara Diamond Goldin; illus. Anik McGrory

ANNO'S TWICE TOLD TALES: THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE, & THE FOUR CLEVER BROTHERS, Mitsumasa Anno

ANY KIND OF DOG, Lynn Reiser

BAD DAY AT RIVERBEND, Chris Van Allsburg

BOODIL, MY DOG, Pija Lindenbaum; illus. Gabrielle Charbonnet

BOOTSIE BARKER BITES, Barbara Bottner; illus. Peggy Rathmann

CLEVELAND LEE'S BEALE STREET BAND, Arthur Flowers; illus. Anna Rich

COME AWAY FROM THE WATER, SHIRLEY, John Burningham

DESHAWN DAYS, Tony Medina; illus. R. Gregory Christie

DO YOU SEE A MOUSE?, Bernard Waber

DRAC AND THE GREMLIN, Allan Baille; illus. Jane Tanner

EMELINE AT THE CIRCUS, Marjorie Priceman

FANNIE IN THE KITCHEN, Deborah Hopkinson; illus. Nancy Carpenter

GOOD NIGHT, GORILLA, Peggy Rathmann

HURRICANE, David Wiesner

IT'S TIME TO GET OUT OF THE TUB, SHIRLEY, John Burningham

JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY, Rod Clement

LITTLE BO PEEP'S LIBRARY BOOK, Ascanio Condivi; illus. Cressida Cowell

LOVE TO LANGSTON, Tony Medina; illus. R. Gregory Christie

MINERVA LOUISE, Janet Morgan Stoeke

MOLE MUSIC, David McPhail

MY WORKING MOM, Peter Glassman; illus. Tedd Arnold

NEVER SATISFIED, Fulvio Testa

NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON MY BLOCK, Ellen Raskin

OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA, Peggy Rathman

OLIVIA SAVES THE CIRCUS, Ian Falconer

ONCE UPON A TIME, Vivian French; illus. John Prater

ROSIE'S WALK, Pat Hutchins

SHORTCUT, David Macauley

SHRINKING OF TREEHORN, Florence Parry Heide; illus. Edward Gorey

STORY OF CHICKEN LICKEN, Jan Ormerod

TALE OF PETER RABBIT, Beatrix Potter (blackbirds are not chased away by Peter's coat on the line, though the text says they should be)

THREE PIGS, David Wiesner

TROUBLE, Jane Kurtz; illus. Durga Bernhard

TWO BAD ANTS, Chris Van Allsburg

VOICES IN THE PARK, Anthony Browne


APPARENT "ERROR" INCONSISTENCIES

Contributors perceive these books to have inconsistencies apparently in error-i.e., details from the pictures and text do not match, but readers believe that they should. In some cases, the illustrator has admitted these "errors" after the book has been published. There is debate on this issue as to whether the text is the more "authoritative" medium between words and pictures, or whether the words can be made to conform to the pictures instead. Authors such as Julius Lester tell us that the latter occasionally happens. Though text most often comes first, picture books are a collaborative artform among authors, illustrators, and book designers, so perhaps the question about whose version is "most right" is moot, except for what explorations of the question might have to tell us about reading practices and preferences. Note: Some of the perceived "errors" listed here may be in longer books as well as picture books.

ASHPET, Joanne and Kenn Compton (the character has to borrow light because the fire has gone out, but the lantern is lit on the fireplace-mistake?).

CATHEDRAL, David Macaulay (crown glass/cylinder glass mix-up from text to illustration)

COUNTRY BUNNY AND THE LITTLE GOLD SHOES, Du Bose Heyward; illus. Marjorie Flack (shoes seem too small and 'feminine' for the rabbit's more natural large feet; seems like illustrator took too much artistic license to make 'dainty' shoes)

DANNY AND THE SEA OF DARKNESS, illus. David Clayton (sea picture is blue; text describes it as a 'bronze mirror.').

FINGERS FINNIGAN, illus. David Clayton (baby dressed in orange instead of white)

HOME ALONE [book of the movie]. (unsmiling Uncle Frank smiles in the book; Kevin's meal is mixed up between turkey and macaroni & cheese).

HOMER PRICE, in "The Case of the Sensational Scent," Robert McCloskey (there are 5 robbers shown in bed; there are only 4 robbers in the story; an unsourced anecdote says that McCloskey was given the opportunity to re-draw the picture for subsequent printings, but preferred to leave it in to delight children who found it).

MADELINE, Ludwig Bemelmans (error on number of girls at dinner table w/out Madeline while she's in the hospital; should be 11, but there are 12. Unsourced anecdote: Bemelmans admitted the mistake but also chose to leave it in).

PERRAULT'S FAIRY TALES, "Little Red Riding Hood," Gustave Dore's illus. more closely follow Grimms' version of the story).

PRINCE CASPIAN: THE RETURN TO NARNIA, (THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, BOOK 4), C. S. Lewis; illus. Pauline Baynes ("I had a long discussion once with someone on whether the hair colors for Susan and Lucy were the wrong way around. Lucy almost always looks dark-haired in the illustrations, but the books say she has golden hair, and Susan looks blonde to me in some of the illustrations, but the books say she has black hair."--quoted from Helen Schinske).

VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER: (THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, BOOK 5), C. S. Lewis; illus. Pauline Baynes ("This reminds me [of] the Pauline Baynes illustration that shows Eustace in his bunk seasick, there is a *globe* standing on a shelf or chest somewhere (despite the fact that Narnia is described as flat, or at least as having an edge, in the same book). Apart from anything else, I've always wondered what projection the cartographer would have used!"--quoted from Jane Stemp/Wickenden. Helen Schinske suggests that perhaps this is a celestial globe, not a world globe).


COVER ILLUSTRATION INCONSISTENT WITH TEXT (NON-PICTURE BOOKS)

A related topic came up that included problematic cover illustrations that do not match details from the texts of certain novels. Most of these were perceived either as errors or thought to be related to less-than-perfect printing techniques. Sales concerns, such as customer demographics, and other factors bring up interesting questions about these inconsistencies and the reasons behind their potential intentionalities.

A WRINKLE IN TIME, Madeleine L'Engle ("Paperback editions tend to make Meg look pretty, although in the text she finds herself very unattractive. I think her glasses are omitted from some of these cover illustrations too, although in the text she is far too near-sighted to ever go sans spectacles"-quoted from Megan Isaac).

ANASTASIA KRUPNIK, Lois Lowery (covers keep showing her as brunette; text implies she's blonde).

BOOK OF THREE, Lloyd Alexander ("One of the versions pictures Taran peering at the Horned King through a forest thicket. Taran carries a long hunting knife. The Horned King looks scary, but Taran looks pretty lethal too. In the text, no such scene occurs. In the thicket scene, Taran is unarmed and easily wounded when another warrior spots him--Taran is by design in this scene naive, defenseless, and scared"-quoted from Megan Isaac).

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, Katharine Paterson ("Some of the newer editions make Leslie very feminine and Jesse cutely masculine. Once again, Donna Diamond's interior illustrations are, by design, virtually gender free. Readers have to pay attention to the text to tell the two apart (the blonde child is Jesse and the dark haired one is Leslie). Newer editions also seem to paint the two kids in a golden romantic haze on one cover, even though the book clearly dismisses their relationship from any romantic tones."-quoted from M. Isaac).

ELLA ENCHANTED, Gail Carson Levine (cover shows her with auburn hair; text says black).

HARRIET THE SPY, Louise Fitzhugh (covers not using Fitzhugh's illustrations often depict Harriet as 'cute,' and distinctly 'feminine,' more attractive, and with longer hair. Text describes her as more androgynous; her hair no longer than the tops of her shoulders. These covers rarely feature her beloved spy accoutrements, which may be perceived as more 'masculine.').

WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, L. Frank Baum (Dover edition cover; inaccurate printing process?-" Last night my children's literature students pointed out that the cover illustration shows Dorothy wearing a red dress, but the text makes a point of describing her one clean dress, which she puts on when she reaches Oz; it's a blue-and-white checked gingham, and the Munchkins "read" the colors as a tribute to their blue regional color and a sign of her being a sorceress, since sorceresses wear white." --quoted from Laureen Tedasco).

OTHER DISCUSSIONS

ILLUSTRATION BEFORE TEXT: Another related discussion arose about books where it was known that the text was written *after* the illustrations, photographs, or other artwork. Several titles were mentioned in that category as well. These included: NOW SHEBA SINGS THE SONG, Maya Angelou; illus. Tom Feelings; I SEE THE RHYTHM, Toyomi Igus; illus. Michele Wood; GOING BACK HOME: AN ARTIST RETURNS TO THE SOUTH, Michele Wood; THE SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR FIRE ENGINE; OR, THE HITHERING THITHERING DJINN, David Barthelme; ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS: AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM, Walter Dean Meyers.

'PERSONAL' TENSIONS BETWEEN AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR: Still another topic discussed reported tension between authors and illustrators themselves. Titles: ALICE IN WONDERLAND; Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel.

PICTURES ALONE: Suggested as having similar ironic tension in a picturebook that contains no text at all. Title: Fernando Krahn's SECRET IN THE DUNGEON.

CREATIVE PROCESS OF ILLUSTRATION: Illustrating text vs. illustration alone. E.g.: Study of Roger Duvoisin's work with and without Alvin Tresselt; Titles: PETUNIA and HIDE AND SEEK FOG, available at the Rutgers Collection,Zimmerli Art Museum, per Gail Aaron.


SECONDARY SOURCES RELATED TO WORDS & PICTURES IN PICTURE BOOKS

There are others, but these came up in the week-long discussion of this topic on Child/Lit.

Gilson, Nancy. "Words on Pictures: Critics Lament Lack of Children's Picture Books with Illustrations that Whisper." THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, Feb. 10, 2002.

Greene, Dr. Ellin. ROGER DUVOISIN: THE ART OF CHILDREN'S BOOKS, 1989. Catalog annotated by Dorothy Hoogland Verkerk. Zimmerli Art Museum.

Kummerling-Meibauer, Bettina. "Metalinguistic Awareness and the Child's Developing Concept of Irony: The Relationships Between Pictures and Texts in Ironic Picture Books," LION AND THE UNICORN 23.2 (April 1999): 157-183.

Nikolajeva, Maria and Carole Scott's HOW PICTUREBOOKS WORK (New York and London: Garland, 2001).

Nodelman, Perry. WORDS ABOUT PICTURES: THE NARRATIVE ART OF CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOKS. Athens & London: U of Georgia P, 1988.

Platzner, Rebecca and Kay E. Vandergrift. NOTES ON CREATING A VISUAL INTERPRETIVE ANALYSIS. http://scils.rutgers.edu/~kvander/Syllabus/creation.html

Shulevitz, Uri. WRITING WITH PICTURES: HOW TO WRITE AND ILLUSTRATE PICTURE BOOKS. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1985.

Vandergrift, Kay E. NOTES FOR THE ANALYSIS OF A PICTURE BOOK. http://scils.rutgers.edu/~kvander/Syllabus/pictureanalysis.html