Stories, Pictures and Reality follows two children as they work out the reality status of stories and pictures, with a daily parent-observer record from the birth of the first child until the second is eight, a span of eleven years in all. Together these children pick through the meaning of stories and the motivations of the characters they discover in this unique first-hand description of the discernment that children bring to books from an early age, full of revealing quotes that tell us a great deal about the cognitive development of our young readers: "It’s a joke 'cause it couldn’t really have happened", "I’ll tell you what's pretend: Batman, Robin, Superman, pirates, cowboys and Indians". "Pussy cats don’t fly kites!", "The man who drawed it was wrong".
In analysis this longitudinal study shows that children have more insight and understanding than they are often given credit for and that they approach subjects that puzzle the most sophisticated of thinkers with an elegant simplicity beyond the expectations of conventional psychologists and children’s literature commentators. This book urges readers, especially practitioners and academics, to afford greater respect to what young children are capable of in this area.
'[This book] stands as one of the best available texts on what sort of GIS-based and expert-system-based research has been tried for modeling the natural and social environments … This book deserves wide recognition for such an achievement.' - Environment and Planning B, 2005
'Virginia Lowe invites her readers to feel, think and evaluate, even to empathise. Such is the stuff of true literature exemplified in Stories, Pictures and Reality.' - Viewpoint
'Fascintaing study…A very worthwhile professional read.' - Reading Time
'Certainly on two fronts, Lowes's book is invaluable. How her children relate to stories and pictures, and how this changes over time, are superbly documented. Reasons for why particular images or stories are enjoyed or discarded are convincingly provided. This information truly is a gold mine.' - Books for Keeps
'Stories, Pictures & Reality is meant for all those who believe in the innate strength of a book and its place in a child’s life, starting with cognitive skill-building and going much beyond … Academics, teachers, librarians and parents – actually all those who are passionate about exploring the wonderful phenomenon of emerging readers – will find this book gainfully enjoyable.' - International Research Society for Children’s Literature
Foreword. Preface. Acknowledgements. List of Illustrations 1. ‘Is this a Real Story?’: The Study and its Methodology 2. ‘The Books we’ve had Forever’: The Environment, the Books, the Children 3. ‘More Book’: Infant Book Behaviour 4. ‘This One’s Exotic and not Real Too!’: What is Real, What is Pretend? 5. ‘He’s Looking the Wrong Way!’: Picture Conventions 6. ‘The Man who Drawed it was Wrong’: Authorship, the Illustrator’s Role and Artistic Style 7. ‘A’Course I can, Read-Maker’: The Concept of Author and Ideology 8. ‘Did he Ever Think Again?’: Characters, Emotions and the Theory of Mind 9. ‘I’m Tigger Pretending to be Eeyore’: Identification and Reality 10. ‘It was a Joke Because it Couldn’t Really Happen’: Humour and Irony 11. ‘But the Words say it’: Conclusion. Afterword. Appendix – Children’s Books by Title. Bibliography. Index