Children’s literature is a body of writing that opens up the opportunity to explore other times and worlds, developing understanding, emotions, motivation for actions and imagination. Most importantly children’s literature entertains, providing personal pleasure and temporary escapism. (Lukens, 2007). Children’s literature develops oral language through reading, allowing children to use language confidently and allowing for effective communication and participation in society (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2013). I thought “Lost and Found” by Oliver Jeffers (2005) was a lovely picture book about the value of friendship. This book is written in third person and uses simple language suitable for young readers to be able to understand. The book has minimal words on each page supported by an illustration that directly relates to what the words are saying. This helps to support the reader in their understanding of what the author is saying and adds the element of pleasure when reading. It allows the reader to draw on their semantic knowledge to better understand the text (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010). Oliver Jeffers uses adjectives to express the boy’s feelings throughout this story: disappointment when he felt he had failed the penguin, delight when he returns the penguin safely to the South Pole, sadness as he rows home alone and happiness when they find each other again (Jeffers, 2005). The adjectives give the reader a better understanding of how the characters are feeling and help them to make the connection to real life feelings. “Lost and Found” (Jeffers, 2005) also includes the use of personification. The penguin substitutes another human being. Oliver Jeffers makes it sound like the penguin actually helps and listens to the boy throughout their journey. It is a way to illustrate to young readers that friendship can come from the most unusual places and should be embraced when found. “Voices in the Park” by Anthony Browne (1998) is written in first person and is broken into four sections with four different people experiencing an unplanned encounter in a park and retelling their version of the meeting. Each section is unique to the character giving the reader an insight into the individuals profile by using contrasting styles and language features. Each voice is written using a different font and has deliberately selected language to give each voice a distinct personality helping to support the readers understanding. It encourages the reader to explore different tones, pitch, stress and pace all of which are important in the development of oral language (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010). I believe “Voices in the Park” provides opportunity for discussion throughout the book and at the end which is also important in the development of oral language (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010). Discussions may include identifying characters and how they fit into the story, predicting what will happen next and relating this story to their own experiences in a park.
I would like to finish with a statement by Lukens, “Words are merely words, but literature for any age is words chosen with skill and artistry to give readers delight and to help them understand themselves and others.”(Lukens, 2007, p.10.)
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2013). The Australian Curriculum: Literacy introduction. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Literacy/Introduction/Introduction
Browne, A. (1998). Voices in the park. New York: DK Publishing.
Jeffers, O. (2005). Lost and found. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Lukens, R.J. (2007). A critical handbook of children’s literature (8th ed). Boston, USA: Pearson Education.
Mother Daughter & Sons Book Review. Retrieved December 5th 2013 from: http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/guest-book-review-voices-in-the-park-by-anthony-browne/
Wilkipedia: The free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 5th 2013 from: from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_and_Found_(book)