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ERIC Number: EJ837073
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Ethos in Steig's and Sendak's Picture Books: The Connected and the Lonely Child
Spitz, Ellen Handler
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v43 n2 p64-76 Sum 2009
Picture-book characters spring to life in both verbal and visual registers. Moving about the page before our eyes as well as speaking and acting in their respective stories, they often make a long-lasting impact on children. Pictures and words, moreover, may overlap but are never commensurate; like the words and notes of a song, they mean and evoke differently even while being experienced together. This brief essay considers a small selection of works by two distinguished twentieth-century American authors-artists: William Steig (1907-2003) and Maurice Sendak (b. 1928). It argues that, with their artful words and pictures, Steig and Sendak construct very different--even contrasting--visions of childhood. By "ethos" in this context, the author means to suggest a vision of what a child is, a sense of what it means both to be a child and to address one. Such visions differ not only through the ages and from one culture and locale to another, but also from one author-artist of the same period and locale to another. By bracketing a small selection of Steig's and Sendak's works and limiting only to extracting a tentative underlying ethos from them, the author takes the position that to write psychologically, one need not mention or exploit a creator's personal life. This essay points gently toward psychological approaches that ask what people can see when they look carefully at the pages of Sendak's works. (Contains 27 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A