chapter  11
16 Pages

Lauren Child: Utterly and Absolutely Exceptionordinarily

BySUSAN S. LEHR

Lawrence R. Sipe, Caroline McGuire, David Lewis, and Bette Goldstone describe an evolving genre of postmodern book illustration that is radically jarring the conventions of the picturebook by subverting conventional applications of color, text, form, format, and superimposed messageswhat Eliza Dresang describes as radical change in a digital age. The joke is on the reader. The joke is on the characters. The breakaway boldness of these graphic books catapults book illustration into new ways of interacting with visual literacy. Space and placement are multidimensional. Illustrators make use of multiple artistic styles including digital art. Font becomes part of the visual plane rather than just relating the story. The designs of these types of books are as important as the text and designers can hold positions similar to those of editors. The texts of these stories are equally innovative. Narrators talk to readers and pull them directly into the story. There may be no closure. Authors and illustrators call attention to the fi ctive nature of their works. Picturebooks can be silly, serious, chaotic, or episodic. Humor and irony are everywhere. The deconstruction of the traditional picturebook has given rise to a postmodern subgenre as Goldstone (“New Subgenre,” 198) has called it that is both startling and innovative in its synergistic blending of elements. In this subgenre the reader of necessity plays an interactive role with the text.