Postmodern Picturebooks: Play, Parody, and Self-Referentiality, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Postmodern Picturebooks

Play, Parody, and Self-Referentiality, 1st Edition

By Lawrence R. Sipe, Sylvia Pantaleo


268 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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Over the past 15 years, there has been a pronounced trend toward a particular type of picturebook that many would label "postmodern." Postmodern picturebooks have stretched our conventional notion of what constitutes a picturebook, as well as what it means to be an engaged reader of these texts. The international researchers and scholars included in this compelling collection of work critically examine and discuss postmodern picturebooks, and reflect upon their unique contributions to both the field of children’s literature and to the development of new literacies for child, adolescent, and adult readers.


"Listening to the children is essential work. Not just because it inches forward our understanding of literacy learning, but also because it keeps us grounded in the facts of real books and real readers. The world has not really turned upside down, though one small corner of it has, and that in a most decisive and curious fashion. The writers assembled here under the watchful eyes of Sipe and Pantaleo have, on the whole, mapped out this corner pretty thoroughly…" -- David Lewis, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 2008

"This important book is a welcome addition to the body of scholarly writings that help us come to newer, deeper and ultimately better understandings of children’s literature."--Junko Yokota, Bookbird (October 2009), Vol. 47, No. 4: 60-61

Table of Contents

Introduction: Postmodernism and Picturebooks Sylvia Pantaleo and Lawrence R. Sipe. 1. What is a Picturebook, Anyway? The Evolution of Form and Substance Through the Postmodern Era and Beyond Barbara Kiefer 2. The Artist and the Postmodern Picturebook Martin Salisbury 3. Radical Change Theory, Postmodernism and Contemporary Picturebooks Eliza T. Dresang 4. Play and Playfulness in Postmodern Picturebooks Maria Nikolajeva 5. Postmodern Picturebooks and the Transmodern Self Karen Coats 6. “They are Always Surprised at What People Throw Away”: Glocal Postmodernism in Australian Picturebooks John Stephens 7. Postmodern Picturebooks and the Material Conditions of Reading Margaret Mackey 8. The Paradox of Space in Postmodern Picturebooks Bette Goldstone 9. Imagination and Multimodality: Reading, Picturebooks, and Anxieties about Childhood Christine Hall 10. Postmodern Picturebook as Artefact: Developing Tools for an Archaeological Dig Michèle Anstey 11. Lauren Child: Utterly and Absolutely Exceptionordinarily Susan Lehr 12. Would I Lie to You?: Metalepsis and Modal Disruption in Some “True” Fairy Tales Robyn McCallum 13. “It Doesn't Say How?”: Third Graders’ Collaborative Sense-making from Postmodern Picturebooks Caroline McGuire, Monica Belfatti, and Maria Ghiso 14. The Voices Behind the Pictures: Children Responding to Postmodern Picturebooks Evelyn Arizpe and Morag Styles with Kate Cowan, Louiza Mallouri & Mary Anne Wolpert 15. First-Graders Interpret David Wiesner’s The Three Pigs: A Case Study Lawrence R. Sipe 16. Ed Vere’s The Getaway: Starring a Postmodern Cheese Thief Sylvia Pantaleo. Editor and Contributor Biographies. Index.

About the Authors

Dr. Lawrence R. Sipe is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a member of the Reading/Writing/Literacy Program. He teaches courses in children's literature, ranging from picturebooks to young adult fiction, and his research interests focus on the responses of kindergarten, first- and second-graders to picture storybooks. He is the North American Editor of Children's Literature in Education.

Dr. Sylvia Pantaleo is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in language and literacy, and in literature for children and adolescents. Her program of research has focused on exploring elementary students’ understanding, interpretations and responses to contemporary picturebooks, specifically literature with Radical Change characteristics and metafictive devices.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education

This series aims to present the latest research from right across the field of education. It is not confined to any particular area or school of thought and seeks to provide coverage of a broad range of topics, theories and issues from around the world.

Please send inquiries or proposals for this series to one of the following:

Will Bateman: – Editor, UK and Rest of World

Elsbeth Wright: – Editor, North & South America

Vilija Stephens: – Editor, Australia & New Zealand

Katie Peace: – Publisher, Asia


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / General
EDUCATION / Elementary