Picturebooks in ELT

Passionate about picturebooks

Welcome to my blog about picturebooks in ELT.

“A picturebook is text, illustrations, total design; an item of manufacture and a commercial product; a social, cultural, historic document; and foremost, an experience for a child. 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 page.” (Barbara Bader 1976:1)

My intention is to discuss picturebooks, in particular the pictures in them! Why? Because, in ELT we tend to select picturebooks because they contain words our students might know. I plan to write something a couple of times a month, sharing what I discover in my readings; describe new titles I come across; discuss particular illustrators and their styles and generally promote the picture in picturebooks.

From January 2008 to December 2011 I benefitted from a PhD research grant from FCT, in Portugal.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sausages, sausages, sausages!

Front cover
At the beginning of November I wrote about a book called The Cloud, which is published by Child's Play.  They were really happy about my post and wrote and told me so.  They were the first publishers to actually notice I was writing about their books, so I congratulated them!  In return, they sent me a small selection of their latest titles, which was really nice - my first experience of getting books for free and it felt wonderful!  I didn't get a buzz from all the books they sent, but I did like this one, Star Gazer's Skyscrapers and extrardinary SAUSAGES by Claudia Boldt (I'll be featuring at least one more in later posts).   I like sausages and I love dogs, so that's a great help as it's a book which features a fat, sausage-loving dog and his owner! I also knew that Claudia Boldt had been nominated a Book Trust Best Illustrator of 2011, so it was good to get a look at this new talent first hand. 
The front cover shows us one of the main characters, Frank, the fat, sausage-loving dog.  He's got a Labrador look to him, and I instantly liked his podgyness (I have a naturally podgy black Labrador of my own, her ears woggle just like Frank's do, and she also enjoys a sausage or two!). I am already making all sorts of personal connections with this front cover, that's a good sign! If we look at the back cover, it does what I like picturebooks to do: shows one continuous illustration, and it presents the other half of this dog-owner-duo, Henrietta (her name is written in the blurb).  She's swinging dangerously from something as sausages float by beneath her.  
Back and front covers
This image together with the title leaves you wondering, what are we going to find inside? 
Endpapers show us all that is a sausage, fresh and smoked ... alongside icereams and sundaes. 
Curioser than ever, what is this book about?
There's a lovely "This book belongs to..."page in the forematter. Henrietta teasing Frank with a sausage. Then the title page has a little illustration of a loving dog licking his owner, a cross-eyes owner! 
Title page
This illustration actually leads us into the main body of the picturebook ...
Opening 01
... for the first opening is Henrietta's reaction to an over affectioante dog, "Careful Frank!  Don't knock my ice-cream!" This is when we disocver that she likes ice-cream and wants to make ice-creams when she grows up.  And what about Frank? 
Opening 02
A sausage dog of course! It's that image from the front cover, "I want to make sausages, eat sausages, do sausages.  Sausages, sausages, sausages."  And so we have our dilemma, Frank wants sausages and nothing but sausages.  Henrietta continues with ideas of what she would like to do when she grows up.  She wants to climb "the steepest skyscrapers, up amongst the ice-cream clouds."  But Frank wants sauasges.  She wants to be a lighthouse keeper ... "I could flash the light, while you guide the ships safely out to sea!" 
Opening 05
Frank wants sausages... "Sau-sea-ges, splash!"  Lovely sausage fish all over the place, lucky Frank! Can you see Henrietta swinging from the lighthouse in the background. 
Henrietta would like to be a star gazer, on a mission to Mars.  
Opening 06
This is a wonderful spread.  We can see Henrietta and Frank in different poses.  Flaoting together in the distance and whizzing by, Henrietta on a shooting star and Frank on Space-sa-ges!  There's a constellation of stars too... the Canis Major maybe?
When Henrietta is a super dancer, so is Frank, for he dances "Sass-se-ages, siss-se-ges, sou-sa-ges, and salsa-ges."   She's a queen bee and poor Frank is a worker, no sausages in this spread.  Finally she decides she's going to be a mechanic, and Frank is her assistant. 
Opening 09

But all he can say is "Sausages!". Henrietta has had enough.  So has Frank. 
Opening 10
That's a grumpy looking dog!  He's right, they have nothing in common. So they sit and grump at opposites ends of the page: Henrietta slurps her icecream and Frank chomps his sausage.     And that's when Henrietta has an idea. Can you guess what it is?
Opening 12
WOW!  Ice-cram sausages and sausage ice-cream!  Hooray!  A spread full of yummy sausage ice-creams and ice-cream sausages.  

Crazy story!  But I really like its quirkiness, and I think children will too, (I still have to try it out in the classroom).   How many of us have tiffs with our friends, when they won't do what we want to do?  This little story demonstrates what great solutions we can all come to. And what fun primary children can have thinking what they'd like to be when they grow up, and why not have some wild ideas, just like Henrietta? 

Thanks again to Child's Play for  sending me this picturebook.  

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