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ereksonj

ereksonj

This Moose Belongs to Me - Oliver Jeffers Jeffers wins again. This was an enchanting example of counterpoint illustration-text relationship (I set it squarely on my goodreads 'counterpoint' shelf, which has only 7 books--cue cricket chirps).

That is, the pictures contradict what the words say, and vice versa. Jeffers' take on counterpoint gave me the sense that either the narrator in the words or in the pictures was exaggerating, maybe just plain lyin'! Here it feels more like someone is winking at me about Wilfred, as if to say, "Leave him alone. Let him have his dream." Jeffers enhances all this by using an incongruous style for the backgrounds--the painterly landscapes don't match his cartoony figures at all.

The specific experience of this counterpoint book prompts some wicked reader-response theorizing(are you listening, Wolfgang Iser?): In a picturebook are there two narrators, one for the pictures and one for the text, or just one narrator for both? This becomes even more convoluted when we think how so many picturebooks are written by an author and then illustrated by a separate artist. Because the narrator, implied reader, implied author, narratee are all 'characters' made up by the reader (in the back of the mind usually), these questions can't be answered simply: i.e., 'The writer makes up one narrator, and the illustrator makes up another.'

This would be an excellent book for a technique like 'sketch to stretch'--to ask readers to draw this omniscient teller outside the frame of the pages, maybe on scanned pages with wide white borders. Putting the narrator's words into a thought bubble and giving the narrator a concrete character. Then the narratee question is easy to ask: To whom is this 'guy' telling the story? This is exactly the kind of book that could support folks discovering some nifty inner workings of literature!