Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 21–38 | Cite as

The Cartographic Eye in Children’s Picturebooks: Between Maps and Narratives

  • Christophe MeunierEmail author
Original Paper


This article examines the place occupied by maps in children’s picturebooks. After a brief overview of the different roles that are assigned to maps in children’s books, the article considers five French picturebooks—Warja Lavater’s Le petit chaperon rouge (1965), Olivier Douzou and Isabelle Simon’s L’autobus numéro 33 (1996), Véronique Vernette’s Cocorico poulet Piga (1999), Rebecca Dautremer and Arthur Leboeuf’s Le loup de la 135 ème (2008) and Kochka and Fabienne Cinquin’s Dans ma ville, il y a… (2011)—in order to focus on how the narrative, whether enclosed, superimposed or linked to the text in some other way, is evoked by the geographic shape of the maps. It is argued that the particular use and function of a map depends on its shape or placement in a book, distinguishing between the incorporation of maps only as a significant picture (its use) from the subject within the whole narrative (its function). Thus the article articulates what uses a map can have within a narrative. It also explores the mechanics of the iconotext, showing that a cartographic picture fulfils a precise, rather than a general, function of spatialisation. Hence three main functions of spatialisation in maps and mapping are distinguished, whereby an author could use maps to help a character discover, conquer, or organise a space.


Maps Picturebooks Spatialisation Iconotexts Semiosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OrléansOrléansFrance

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