The Storybook Police Archetype

Mary Petty (1899-1976) 1943

Australia has a uniquely trusting relationship with its police force. We might say the image of police here in Australia is based on a storybook image, one which is cultivated in white kids from the time we start reading children’s books. The only feelings mankind has inspired in policemen are indifference and scorn.UN FLIC (Jean-Pierre……

Charlotte’s Web Novel Study Analysis

Charlotte's Web Cover

At almost 32,000 words, Charlotte’s Web (1952, 1963) is a middle grade novel rather than a chapter book. This is a story with many  hidden depths, which appeals to middle grade kids as well as their adult co-readers. Below I’ll be getting into how this story appeals to both children and adults, the themes of……

The Tale Of Pigling Bland by Beatrix Potter Analysis

As you read “The Tale of Pigling Bland” (1913) imagine Beatrix Potter sitting in a pig shed with her art gear and muck boots on, because that’s how she spent one summer, diligently rendering pigs (and then decking them out in clothes). Apparently she struggled to knock this one out. She’d had a big year.……

Mercy Watson Thinks Like A Pig by Kate diCamillo Analysis

Kate diCamillo’s Mercy Watson series are genius examples of funny, endearing, broad-audience picture books. There’s so much to learn. Today I take a deep dive into Mercy Watson Thinks Like A Pig. Eugenia and Baby Lincoln may live next door to a pig, but that doesn’t stop them from living a gracious life. And the……

Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate diCamillo Analysis

“Mercy Watson Fights Crime” is book number three in the Mercy Watson series by Kate diCamillo, first published 2006. This series is beautifully illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. SETTING OF MERCY WATSON FIGHTS CRIME Where in America is this series set? Based only on fictional representations, this feels Southern to me. (Do Americans get that?……

Pig the Winner by Aaron Blabey Analysis

Pig The Winner, written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey, is another picture book in the widely-loved Pig The Pug series. I suspect these will become Australian classics in the same way the Hairy Maclary books became New Zealand classics. I pick and choose when it comes to Aaron Blabey books. Pig The Fibber, which felt……

Poof and the Piglet

Poof and the Piglet is a homemade picture book written and illustrated by a 10-year-old who was given the title as inspiration. The 10-year-old has also been taught universal story structure. Poof is the star of an entire series of books. Sometimes she has a sidekick called Worm-hoop (an English owl). This time Worm-hoop is……

Elephant and Piggie Comedy Techniques Analysis

The Elephant and Piggie books, invented by Mo Willems, are favourites of my 9-year-old daughter, who is otherwise long past beginner readers. She has asked for more Elephant and Piggies for her tenth  birthday. She feels a lot of similar level stories are ‘too babyish’ for her but an enduring interest in the Elephant and……