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I. Overall Picturebook Design

III. Elements of Design

V. Individual Images in Picturebooks

IV. Narrative Elements

VI. Critical Analysis of Picturebooks

II. Peritextual Elements

Jon Scieszka (Author)

Most of the media in the book are drawings by Smith, however many of his illustrations have a collage look due to what appear to be cut-out images. One example is in the story of the really ugly duckling. The really ugly duckling has six brothers and sisters who are all cut-outs of duck photographs. These additions to the images tie in with the theme of the narrator throwing together a book that is beginning to fall apart. There are no real borders for the illustrations; most of them are full bleed and even break the "frame" of the page. In fact, many illustrations are intertwined with, and even affecting, the text. The images are symmetrical, because they do not tell more than what the text says.

Readers with a strong knowledge base of fairy tales and their variants will appreciate the stories more than readers without that knowledge. Most of the characters are animals, but those that are not appear to be Caucasian, although it is hard to tell since they are all of a medium skin tone.

The initial reaction to the book's cover is anticipation. Along the spine is pieces of illustration from the stories in the book, which draws the reader's interest. The first thing a reader sees is the stinky cheese man, the character for whom the book is named, running through the title. The design of the book compliments the stories within very well. The illustrations are most certainly not your stereotypical children's book drawings, and the fairy tales, or "Fairly Stupid Tales", are not the predictable fables in most kids' books.

The image I chose actually is continued from the previous page, which is the beginning of the story of The Tortoise and the Hair. The reader is led through the text and on to the illustration by the rabbit's hair. The hair even spells out words in the story. As it grows off of the page, the tortoise is steadily keeping up and smiling at the reader with confidence.

The illustrations are non-conventional, which hints that the fairy tales inside are not traditional. The illustrations also show glimpses of humor, that along with the title prepares readers for the satire that Scieszka provides. On the back cover, there is an illustration of the little red hen complaining about the ISBN. This can do two things to a reader's experience: if they read the bok before seeing the back, it is a bonus to see the hen continuing to gripe; if they see the back before reading the book, it introduces them to the hen and her personality before the story begins. The book jacket contains two notes, one about the author and one about the illustrator. The pictures used only add to the satire Scieszka and Smith created. The title page states loud and clear "Title Page." Underneath that huge text is a smaller text stating " (for The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.)" The dedication page is upside down and informs the reader that the book is dedicated to the author and illustrator's "close personal friend: (your name here)". Although the book lacks an author's note, there is an introduction from the narrator which can be paraphrased by saying this: he wants you to stop wasting time on reading the introduction and read the book. All of these peritextual elements slather on the irony and satire that is do prevalent throughout the stories.

The text is structured in a chronological sequence of the narrator, Jack, taking the reader through the book of fairy tales that is falling apart. In the opening of the story, we are introduced to the (annoying) little red hen. She proceeds to follow Jack through the book and nag him. At the very end, Jack is attempting to sneak away from the sleping giant, and the hen awakens the giant. Much to Jack's, and the reader's, relief, the giant eats the hen and puts an end to her incessant nagging.

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