chapter  1
30 Pages

Modern picturebooks: the state of the art

As an art form it hinges on the interdependence of pictures and words, on the simultaneous display of two facing pages, and on the drama of the turning of the page.

On its own terms its possibilities are limitless. (Prefatory note to Bader 1976:1)

Introduction The purpose of this book is to explore both the nature of the picturebook and what it means to read one. Books and reading have always seemed to me to be inseparable so I have taken an uncompromising view of the picturebook as first and foremost a kind of text, a quasi-literary artefact more closely allied to other kinds of texts than to works of visual art.1I shall not ignore the pictures but I think it is unwise to make a beginning by disconnecting the several parts of something that is clearly a complex whole so that they can be examined separately. Far better to keep the complete object in view and see what kind of sense can be made of it in its completeness, however difficult that may be.