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Picture books frequently make use of distinctive typography to indicate emphasis or evaluative expression, distinguish particular characters and contribute to the interpretive possibilities of the narrative in a variety of ways. However, the potential significance of typography is not always taken into account in discussion of the interpretation of children's literature or in picture book translation. In this paper we investigate the influence of typography in interaction with language choices on the interpretive possibilities of Oliver Jeffers' picture book STUCK (2011) and discuss the interpretive impact of the different typography and language choices in the Spanish translation, ATRAPADOS (Jeffers, 2012). Our investigation is informed by recent semiotic work on typography and accounts of evaluative resources in English, drawing on systemic functional linguistics and its application to researching the literary narrative techniques of picture books. Our analyses illuminate the relationships among the narrative genre, grammar, typography and thematic interpretation of the texts and how the latter is influenced by translation. The importance of further exploration of typography in picture books and extension to the ‘animated’ typographical resources in electronic versions of picture books is briefly noted.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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