Please read Chapter 6
and Chapter 7 from
Russell, D. L. (2009). Literature for children: a
A wide variety of
sophisticated artistic styles can be found in children’s
picture books. Although an artist’s works seldom fit neatly
into one single art style, facets of these styles may be
merged into the artist’s personal expression of the world.
representational art portrays the world with
faithful attention to lifelike detail. A
few artists aim at almost photographic realism, but many
prefer to approximate reality.
It is particularly suited
to illustrate realistic stories with serious
content or themes.
Example: “Make Way for
Ducklings” written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey
Cartoons consist of
exaggerated caricatures that emphasize emotion
and movement. They possess no subtlety, but
are simple and straightforward.
It is often chosen to
illustrate humorous stories, nonsense, and
Example: “The Cat in the
Hat” written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss (1957)
conveys an inner feeling or vision by
distorting external reality. The influence of
expressionism is found in children’s picture books in
the form of distorted shapes and provocative
use of color and line.
in France toward the end of the 19th century. Painters
such as Vincent van Gogh sought new freedom of
expression, rejecting traditional uses of line, color,
space, and so on. Therefore, we see much distortion
and experimentalism in this art.
Expressionism is quite
versatile and can be used to create fresh perspectives
in both serious and humorous stories.
written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans (1939)
depicts natural appearances of objects by giving
fleeting visual impressions with an emphasis on
light. Color is the most distinctive feature of this
school, especially the interplay of color and light,
often created with splashes, speckles, or dots of paint
as opposed to longer brush strokes.
Impressionism is also a
19th century French movement. The most influential
impressionists were Monet and Cezanne, who
wished to convey more of the artist’s emotional
responses in their paintings.
The effect is dreamlike.
It evokes a quiet, pensive mood
(expressive of melancholy thoughtfulness).
Tale of Peter Rabbit” written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter
Surrealistic art often
presents incongruous dream and fantasy images. It
creates unnatural juxtapositions and bizarre
The most famous
practitioner of surrealistic art was Dali.
Surrealism is a very intellectual response to a
subject (The expressionist and the impressionist make us
feel, but the surrealist makes us think).
It is suited to
strange, unrealistic, or humorous tales.
Example: “Willy and Hugh”
written and illustrated by Anthony Borwne (1991)
F. Folk Art
Folk art is associated
with a specific cultural or social group
and is reminiscent of the style prevalent at the time
the story events occurred. It is usually decorative in
nature, providing ornamentation for everyday utilitarian
Since it is culturally
specific, folk art is favored in illustrating folktales.
of Cats" written and illustrated by Wanda Gág