Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 225–239

The Dynamics of Picturebook Communication

  • Maria Nikolajeva
  • Carole Scott


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 


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Picturebooks Discussed

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  3. Burningham, John, Time to Get Out of the Bath, Shirley. New York: Crowell, 1978.Google Scholar
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  6. Hutchins, Pat, Rosie's Walk. New York: Macmillan, 1968.Google Scholar
  7. Kitamura, Satoshi, Lily Takes a Walk. New York: Dutton, 1987.Google Scholar
  8. Lindgren, Barbro, and Eriksson, Eva, Sam's Ball. New York: Morrow, 1983 (Max boll 1982). The first of many ”Sam” books.Google Scholar
  9. Nygren, Tord, The Red Thread. Stockholm: R & S Books, 1988 (Den röda tråden, 1987).Google Scholar
  10. Ormerod, Jan, Moonlight. London: Lothrop, 1982.Google Scholar
  11. Ormerod, Jan, Sunshine. London: Lothrop, 1981.Google Scholar
  12. Potter, Beatrix, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. New York: Warne, 1902.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Nikolajeva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carole Scott
    • 3
  1. 1.Stockholm University (Sweden)
  2. 2.Åbo Akademi University (Finland
  3. 3.San Diego State University

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