Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 225-239

First online:

The Dynamics of Picturebook Communication

  • Maria NikolajevaAffiliated withStockholm University (Åbo Akademi University (
  • , Carole ScottAffiliated withSan Diego State University

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This article offers new perspectives and theoretical tools to interpret and appreciate the complex relationships that can exist between words and pictures. The spectrum of text/image interaction is laid out and analyzed, and several picturebooks from different countries are explored to uncover a number of intriguing dynamics ranging from the simple to the highly elaborate. Text/image interaction may give rise to significant ambiguity, and the article points to future opportunities for dual audience research in this field. The article offers a taste of Nikolajeva and Scott's How Picturebooks Work (Garland, 2000).

picturebooks illustrations text/image interaction semiotics narrative theory