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Picture book aesthetics: Requirements for an adequate aesthetic approach to picture books 1.

takes into account the social function of picture books while avoiding condescension

or presumption about child readers Without condescensionnot assuming that the deepest meaning of a picture book goes over childrens heads Without presumptionnot presuming to know what children experience when they look at a picture book; avoiding ages and stages analysis that treats children as generic beings 2. critiques picture books as an integral experience rather than as a socializing or didactic lesson art is an experience (Dewey); it does not concern itself with what a book teaches except to notice how rhetorical agendas compromise or complicate the experience 3. considers picture books seriously as a unique aesthetic space: Criticism the fruit of long and extensive picture book acquaintance and viewing by scholars who are familiar with each others work-- nikolajeva, wyile, nodelman, Stanton, Conversant with other art formats (film, novels, short stories, graphic narrative, comics, painting, printmaking, graphic design) But has its own vocabulary and vision rather than being the stepchild of other formats In addition to theorizing text and image, theorizes the ways picture book generates meaning using the body of the booke.g. gutter, verso-recto, page turn logic, openings, page formatting Has its own narrative theory issuesSELF figure, focalizing, narration, perspective, representation of time and space, fictional epistemology Has its own phenomenological and cognitive issueshow we take picture books, historical and biographical resonance, the uses of allusion to other formats Aesthetic evaluationvalorizes integrity of artistic picture books, appreciates achievement of picture book auteurs, supports respectful publication and reprinting of artistic picture books 4. examines and theorizes historical relations between children and adults as part of its project picture books are about childhood in relation to adulthood, and they instantiate those relations picture books are about childhood experience, or at least about an artists representation of childhood experience to the extent that they are works of art, picture books capture wild and often uncomfortable truths about the meeting between child and adult worlds 5. develops its own theory of picture books as a format, social nexus, and art form Eugene Gendlins working definition of theory: a systematic expression of the relationships between, and ultimate causes of, that which we have experienced, noticed, and confirmed, which gives us the leverage to move beyond where we are now.