On Rhyming Picturebooks and Children’s Poetry Analysis

Examine the work of rhyming masters like Jane Yolen, Jack Prelutsky, Karma Wilson, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Corey Rosen Schwartz.Tara Lazar, How To Write Children’s Picturebooks “If it’s going to rhyme, it’s just terribly important that there’s some repeated phrase, some sort of chorus-y bit.”Julia Donaldson, The Guardian interview In 1991 an editor in the children’s……

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……

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.……

Story Structure: The Big Struggle

Harry Brooker - The Tug of War

All complete narratives feature a big struggle scene. No, that doesn’t have to be a literal big struggle scene, Lord of the Rings style. In fact, we should be thinking outside that box altogether. One thing I love about Larry McMurtry’s anti-Western novels (especially Lonesome Dove) is that he condenses the gun big struggles and torture scenes in favour……

Jack And The Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts Analysis

Jack and the Flumflum Tree is a picture book by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts. The title suggests this may be a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk but it’s not really — this is an original tale based on mythic structure with elements of Little Red Riding Hood (the sick grandma) and pirate……

A Squash And A Squeeze Analysis by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Analysis

A Squash and a Squeeze is a 1993 picture book written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Sheffler. The plot is very old. A Squash and a Squeeze was published in 1993, when Donaldson was 44. It was not expected to be a big seller. For one thing, it was in rhyme, which publishers at……

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Analysis

In Stick Man, an anthropomorphised stick ends up far away from his family tree when he is fetched by a dog, thrown by a child, used as a snowman’s arm, and even put on a fire, but finally, Santa Claus steps in to make sure that Stick Man and his family have a joyous Christmas. Julia……

Dragons In Children’s Literature

Odilon Redon (France, 1840 -1916), Roger and Angelique (Saint George and the Dragon or Andromeda saved), after 1908, oil on canvas

Dragons have always evoked a mixture of fear and attraction. They’re everywhere in The Bestiaries. Folkloric dragons always talk. They are semi-human and have wily intelligence. Sometimes they’re regal, sometimes cowardly.

Punishment In Children’s Literature

Poetic justice — or the punishment of characters who do wrong might be one solid difference between stories ‘for children’ versus ‘for adults’. Some adult gatekeepers are squeamish about the possibility of young readers siding with naughty characters who go unpunished. Children’s storytellers from the first and second Golden Ages of Children’s Literature had no……