Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 261-281

First online:

A Gorilla with ‘Grandpa's Eyes’: How Children Interpret Visual Texts—A Case Study of Anthony Browne's Zoo

  • Morag Styles
  • , Evelyn Arizpe

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This article explores the multilayered nature of a single picture book by Anthony Browne and the sophisticated responses (including their own pictures) children aged 4–11 bring to interpreting such a text. Emphasis is laid on the high-level cognitive skills involved in reading visual images and links are made between seeing and thinking. Some features of the children's understanding are examined in detail; for example, how they interpret visual imagery and deal with a variety of challenging artistic features, and how their drawings show knowledge and feelings they are not yet able to articulate. The findings also suggest that some children who are not yet confident at reading print have developed impressive capacities for analysing image.

visual literacy Anthony Browne picture books student responses children's drawings