© Copyright 2017 Nabil Najibzada, Ryerson University
Orlando, The Marmalade Cat, A Seaside Holiday by Kathleen Hale is a very appealing children’s book originally introduced in the 1900s. To give a quick overview of the book, it is about an orange cat, Orlando (Marmalade since he is orange) who goes on a family trip
to a beach. During their trip things get very interesting and adventurous as they begin to swim underwater and find a lost shipwreck as well as a queen who had been there for a long time. The book has several colorful images alongside the text giving younger readers more engagement when reading the book. These images are present in different sizes, some being small to half a page large, where at one point we have an image
The role of images
An image itself is a very important aspect to a book. It may bring life to a book, it sets a setting in a reader’s head of what the story “looks” like. Especially when it comes to a child who’s imagination can run wild and any moment, it has a significant impact on how they view the story and what they are able to extract from it. Images do not solely act as an extension for entertainment and imaginary thoughts for children, there is an educational factor to it as well. Children are able to view an image, relate it to the text that is related to it, and then extract information from that. For example if there is a picture book about animals and the text speaks about camouflage, there is then an image of a chameleon camouflaging on a tree. When a child views this image, they get that final understand of that camouflage is and what it looks like. From that image and text, they then are able to extract that knowledge into the real world. A study conducted by Patricia A. Ganea, Judy S. DeLoache, and Lili Ma consisted of showing children images of animals with camouflage in picture books. Afterwards they are then shown pictures of animals and asked which animals were most likely to fall prey in which case the animals that did not have camouflage traits were chosen (Ganea, DeLoache, and Ma, 1). This study importantly concludes that images in a children’s picture book have much more purpose than a simple “fun” factor. Children are able to learn through their reading experience and transfer that knowledge into the real world.
How spacing is used
Space is something that usually lies subconsciously within one’s mind while reading a book with pictures. When you read a picture book you are not actively trying to figure out how the images take up a certain space and what that means. Well let me extract the importance of space in text. The use of space does not technically have a direct meaning to it, but rather it is to be examined through the whole text. Space can give clues about a story, it can foreshadow events, it can highlight important moments in a story, and it can be progressive. In the article “The Journey Through the ‘Space in the Text’ to Where the Wild Things Are” by Ann Moseley it is described that the way images use space in a text may
give off clues and provide further analysis of a story. For example in Where the Wild Things Are, the images of the story begin small and grow in size as the plot progresses until we have a full 2 page image. Afterwards, the images then begin to shrink in size during the denouement of the story until the final image is shown which is larger in size than the first. When analyzed, the images are in fact tied directly to the protagonist’s development. He starts off with a small image, meaning a clean slate. When the story finishes, he ends up with a bit of knowledge gained through his experience which is shown by the slightly larger final image (Moseley, 86-87). Although this progression cannot be understood at first, when the images are analyzed further taking the text into context, we can see how important that images use up space in specific ways.
Orlando’s adaptations to images and space
In Orlando, The Marmalade Cat, A Seaside Holiday, the images that are used feature animals using very soft colors which are appealing to the eyes. There are not any super sharp edges or lines, overall the images used are very soft which gives a very smooth sort of feel to it for a reader. What’s important about the use of the colors and image style here is how a child would feel when reading the book. An article titled “Children Reading Pictures: Interpreting Visual Texts, Taylor and Francis, 2002.” by Arizpe, Evelyn, and Morag
gives some insight in how children extract information from images. They conducted a study using children of different ages and backgrounds where they were assessed on their ability to draw meaning from images. Results showed that they were able to extract not only meaning while relating it to the text, but also get a sense of the mood and realism involved (Arizpe, Evelyn, & Morag, 2002). The use of these smooth images and colors in Orlando will definitely allowed children viewers to grasp mood from it and therefore getting more sensation from an image as opposed to simply understanding it’s contents. Moreover; children tend to enjoy picture books that feature dominant animal characters as it may be more imaginative and adventurous as opposed to books about only human characters (Ganea, Patricia A., et al, 1425-1428). Although Orlando does not follow a specific progression of images such that Where the Wild Things Are does, space definitely is considered when images are placed. The images used perfectly relate to the text supporting it which make it very easy for a reader to understand, however some parts of the story are given more importance for instance where we have almost 2 full pages of images sometimes. These images stand out and have more meaning and importance than the rest due to its largeness.
In conclusion, I believe we can all agree that images play a very important role in a children’s book. These images being colorful and detailed in nature bring out the imagination of a child. Moreover; children are able to extract further information and detail from images where they can bring it with them into the real world. Besides the image itself, how the image is placed can be analyzed for clues and hidden information about a story. It may not be obvious at first, but as further analysis is done we can conclude that images play a key role in the development of a story.
- Arizpe, Evelyn, and Morag Styles. Children Reading Pictures: Interpreting Visual Texts, Taylor and Francis, 2002. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/lib/ryerson/detail.action?docID=201196.
- Ganea, Patricia A., et al. “Young Children’s Learning and Transfer of Biological Information From Picture Books to Real Animals.” Child Development, vol. 82, no. 5, 2011, pp. 1421–1433. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41289855.
- Hale, Kathleen. Orlando (the Marmalade Cat): a Seaside Holiday. Frederick Warne, 1991.
- Moseley, Ann. “The Journey through the ‘Space in the Text’ to Where the Wild Things are.” Children’s Literature in Education: An International Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 2, 1988, pp. 86-87.
- Serafini, Frank. “Expanding Perspectives for Comprehending Visual Images in Multimodal Texts: To Expand Students’ Interpretive Repertoires, Teachers Need to Extend their Understanding of Perspectives, Theories, and Practices used to Comprehend Visual Images, Graphic Design, and Multimodal Texts.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 54, no. 5, 2011, pp. 342.
Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.