“These Books Made Me Really Curious”: How Visual Exploration Shapes the Young Reader’s Taste

Marnie Campagnaro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


The visual dimension is essential in the life experience of every child, especially in the contemporary society, where children are exposed to an unceasing bombardment of visual inputs. High quality picturebooks can represent an extraordinary instrument to educate the children’s approach to the visual dimension, to incite them to explore and identify the rules of the visual language and to give shape to the readers' taste by stimulating their narrative dimension. The proposal advanced has its theoretical background in the famous formula of Gombrich’s visual representation, according to which "when we see we interpret". The act of seeing, meant here as the act of watching, involves an active attitude of the subject who intentionally observes and tries to penetrate the object observed. Two categories, which recover the two classical ways of the figurative representation in the history of art, have been used for the construction of a model which has allowed to face the visual analysis of picturebooks: the iconic language, that aims at the imitation of the natural reality (denotation, that is an unequivocal and direct relationship with the reality), and the iconic language, that offers an interpretation and an allegorical or symbolic representation of it (connotation). This study, which aims at investigating the potential of the visual language in some illustrated fairy tales, presents an observational research involving children aged 6, 8 and 10 and describes the interactions and the preferences expressed by these children with respect to twenty-one contemporary versions of the illustrated fairy tales Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and Bluebeard, written with a denotative or a connotative iconic language.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteChallenging and Controversial Picturebooks. Creative and Critical Responses to Visual Texts
Numero di pagine23
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Children's literature
  • picturebooks


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