Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Zog (2010) is a picture book by best-selling British team Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Zog is regularly held up as a great feminist story for young readers. Zog interests me as an excellent example of a children’s story which looks feminist at first glance. As I often say: Inversion does not equal subversion. Dig……

Animals Riding Other Animals In Illustration

Early-twentieth century illustrations by Artuš Scheiner (1863 – 1938) riding horse underwater

When I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes I was disturbed for an unlikely reason. It wasn’t the dystopian aspect of a world where humans were no longer top of the food chain. The resonant image for me was when the apes were riding horses. I immediately checked myself. Why am I slightly……

Chinoiseries and Picture Books Analysis

Illustrators of fairy tales frequently choose styles that evoke the periods of history not particularly related to the tales but that they perceive to share the values they find in the tales.Perry Nodelman, Words About Pictures Children’s picture books draw from a great number of traditions. One of those is ‘chinoiseries’, a European mimicry of……

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Analysis

This month I’m blogging a series aimed at teaching kids how to structure a story. This seven-step structure works for all forms of narrative. It works for picture books, songs, commercials, films and novels. Today I take a close look at The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson to show how universal structure exists behind all good stories.……

Birds In Children’s Literature

Henry Stacey Marks - A Select Committee 1891

Birds occupy a special place in children’s stories, as they do in the Bible, in folklore and in fairytales. Are they good or are they evil? No other creature has so successfully been both, equally. If you’re writing a children’s story, you can do what you like with birds. The hooked beak of Bauer’s bird……