The Broken Cat



Author/Illustrator: Lynne Rae Perkins

Publisher and Year: Greenwillow Books, 2002

Number of Pages: 30

Genre: Realistic Fiction

A young girl breaks her arm and it isn’t until she sees that it gets better, that she starts to feel better. As time passes, the young girl gets older and has a son. When her son’s cat breaks his leg, she reassures them both that it’ll get better.

This text could work well as a mirror for children who can identify with Frank. At a young age, a child’s best friend is typically their pet. There may be children who feel for Frank and his cat because they love their pet in the same way. Some children also look to pets for direction as to how to react to a situation. For example, when Frank sees that his cat is depressed about breaking his leg, he also gets depressed. When the cat starts to feel better emotionally about the situation, Frank follows. The only characters who appear in the story are Frank’s family, who are White. However, when Frank’s mom breaks her arm and the town welcomes her home, there don’t appear to be any non-White neighbors. There could be more diversity in this book. Also, typical of gender roles, the woman is a nurse and the male is the doctor.

Perceptually, the text adds to the images. The images are dependent on the text, as the illustrations are very basic so a reader could not take much from them alone. Structurally, many of the images in the beginning are in, what appear to be, faded bubbles. The beginning of the story is filled with memories of when Frank’s mom was a child and broke her arm, so the faded pictures may just be her faded memories. When the story comes back into the present, the images are no longer in bubbles. One picture of the cat is a real picture, as parts of the story are based on true events. Ideologically, this story brings to life the true relationship of a child and their pet. The book never mentions that Frank’s mother felt bad for having the cast because she was made fun of, she just felt that it inconvenienced her. In a way, that sheds light on the situation.

Have I got a book for you!


Author/Illustrator: Melanie Watt

Publisher and Year: Kids Can Press, 2009

Number of Pages: 30

Genre: Fiction
hqdefault Salesman Mr. Al Foxword claims that he can sell anyone anything, even the book that is being read. Al isn’t very convincing, but by the end of the book, the reader still feels like they have to buy the book.

This book couldn’t really work as a window, mirror, or door. It teaches no lesson and has no real point, other than amusement. In this story, all of the power is in the salesman’s hands. He forces the reader to continue along in the book and at the end of the book, the reader sees that a page is ripped so they are forced to buy it. The “you break it, you buy it” idea is so common in society, mainly because sellers know that no one else will want a broken item, so it would be in the seller’s best interest to make the person who broke it, buy it.

Perceptually, the words add to images and vice versa. There’s lots of dialogue, which makes it an easier read and more entertaining. The main character is speaking to us the entire time. He uses sarcasm and generic compliments to convince us to buy the book. Structurally, the words and images are set up in a way that it looks like an advertisement. Al, the salesman, appears multiple times on one page near the end. He is starting to lose control, as he cannot seem to convince us to buy the book. He also appears much bigger on pages where he is offering something that he feels is irresistible (but is actually really dumb)—almost like he’s in our face telling us to buy it.

The Only Child

Author/Illustrator: Guojing

Publisher and Year: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015

Number of Pages: 100

Genre: Fantasy/Fiction

A lonely, only child runs away from home and finds a mysterious stag that takes her to a magical world. In this world, she feels loved and eventually misses home. Guojing takes us through the young girl’s journey back home to her family.

This book could serve as a mirror for those who can identify with the young girl. Some children may feel lonely and are only children, or at least feel as such. Children often use their imagination to “run away” to a place where they feel wanted and empowered. This story could also work as a window into the Chinese culture. The author has stated that this book “…reflects very real feelings of isolation and loneliness I experienced growing up in the 1980’s under the one-child policy in China” (P. 1). The longing for attention and love that a child feels is something that a multitude of readers can relate to.

There are no words in this book, as it is a picture narrative. Structurally, the entire story is told with pictures. For majority of the pages, the images are framed. There is no apparent pattern to the unframed images, but the reader feels more connected to those pages. The images are dark, which emphasizes the sadness the girl feels. The background to the images is more of a sepia when she is home and unhappy, but it is white when she runs away. This change in background emphasizes which images are happier than others. However, this story could just be a huge fantasy. When the child goes to bed, we see that she is holding what appears to be the stag that she rode to this mysterious land. Ideologically, this story shows readers that although it is very easy to become lost, there is always a path guiding the way back home. This story also conveys the idea that running away is an acceptable solution to feeling alone or abandoned. The parents of the child search helplessly for their lost child, but the child moseys on home like nothing happened.

March: Book One


Authors: John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Illustrator: Nate Powell

Publisher and Year: Top Shelf Productions, 2013

Number of Pages: 121

Genre: Non-fiction

march book one page preview 1In March: Book One John Lewis tells about the struggle he has gone through and witnessed since the beginning days of segregation. He highlights the highs and lows of the Civil Rights Movement, and how much influence he had in the process.

This book works hugely as a mirror. There are so many people that can identify with this text, and it is always helpful to get history on one’s culture. This book could work as a mirror for those who can identify with it, a window for those who can’t, and a door for those could learn a lesson from it. The 1950’s-1960’s weren’t an exciting time for African Americans, and John Lewis elaborates on that. In the beginning of the graphic novel, the Whites have all of the power. As time goes on and more Black people realize how powerful a peaceful protest could be, they begin to gain power. The use of peaceful protests is something that is still prevalent and effective today. Perceptually, the pictures mirror and add to the text, and vice versa. Most of the text is dialogue, and the rest are descriptions of scenes, people, and situations.

Structurally, the novel is set up as typical graphic novel would be: pop-out speech balloons and lots of pictures. The characters continuously move to the right, which symbolizes them moving forward. The entire book is in black and white, but the reader can still feel when a scene is “darker” than others. This may also be because the book was about problems between Blacks and Whites, so it would make sense to have the book in black and white only. Some backgrounds are white with black panels, which makes us feel lighter and less tense about what is going to happen next. Other backgrounds are black with white panels or no frames at all. There is usually a life-changing moment occurring on these pages. Ideologically, this story can serve to teach readers about African American history, if nothing else. It shows that everything does not have to be solved with violence, and that peacefully hashing things out can be more beneficial. This story also teaches readers that there are perks to being the bigger person and not letting others get to you.

The Pigeon Needs a Bath!


Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems

Publisher and Year: Hyperion Books for Children, 2014

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Fiction

IMG_4397This dirty pigeon uses sarcasm and reverse psychology to get out of taking a bath. When his tactics don’t work and he is forced to take a bath, he realizes that baths aren’t so bad after all.

This book could work well as a way to get young, stubborn children to bathe. For some children, bathing isn’t the highlight of their day, so seeing the Pigeon do it could make them feel better about it.  Many parents could probably relate to the Pigeon’s parent who can’t seem to convince him to take a bath. The Pigeon Needs a Bath! Is a book that has some different humor, but is ultimately just a fun read. Like a typical parent-child relationship, the man (assuming he is the parent of the Pigeon) has the power to make the Pigeon take a bath. The Pigeon may feel that it is a choice, but in the end he will take a bath. Some parents could relate to this as well; they allow children to think that they have a choice if they do something, but in reality they don’t.

Perceptually, the entire book is just a conversation the Pigeon is having with himself. He invites the reader into the conversation a few times, but he is really just convincing himself that he shouldn’t take a bath. The text adds to the images, and the images are dependent on the text. Because the illustrations are so simple, it is not clear what exactly the scenes would mean without the text. Structurally, the pigeon is having conversations with the reader as if we someone is actually responding to him. This makes the reader feel more engaged with the book. Emphasized sounds help readers get acquainted with onomatopoeia.



Author/Illustrator: Lizi Boyd

Publisher and Year: Chronicle Books, 2004

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Fiction

IMG_2271Flashlight is about a young boy who explores the mysterious world outside of his tent. What other way to experience nature than with a flashlight? Like a flashlight, this book helps us experience the beauties of nighttime nature.

This story could work as a window into a world that a lot of children may be curious about—nature.  There are also many children who could identify with this small, curious boy. Children are known for their creativity and imagination, and this boy’s creativity is what creates this journey for him.

There are no words in this book, as it is a picture narrative. The pictures tell the story. Structurally, majority of the book in black and white to show how dark it is without the flashlight. The areas where the boy shines the flashlight are colorful and bright, but there are also two trees that always have color, even though the flashlight is not on them. This is a cut-out book, and every cut-out is a colorful spot on the next page. One of the things that the boy flashes his light on are “prayer flags”, which are common in the Tibetan culture. At one point, the small boy loses the flashlight and the animals seem to be just as curious about him as he is about them. Ideologically, this book promotes the inner creativity and curiosity in readers. Although the boy cannot see what is in the dark, as the reader, the reader can. However, the creative part comes in when the readers attempts to bring these black and white images to life, just like the young boy with the flashlight.

Leo: A Ghost Story

IMG_9670 [2578141] 

Author: Marc Barnett

Illustrator: Christian Robinson

Publisher and Year: Chronical Books, 2015

Number of Pages: 42

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

IMG_9671 [2578142]When an unwanted ghost boy, Leo, is “evicted” from his ghost home, he is forced to live on the streets. It isn’t until he meets a young, believing girl that he finally feels accepted and seen.

This book could work as a mirror for those who feel that they are “invisible.” Even though Leo is actually invisible because he is a ghost, some children may feel that they are just as invisible and unloved as Leo. It isn’t until Leo sees that he can use his ghostliness for good that he starts to gain power. When he realizes that he can scare the robber into captivity, Leo feels better about the way that he is.

Perceptually, the images depend on the text. Without the text, the images would not really make sense. The texts begins with letting the reader know that people cannot see Leo, but the reader can. This makes readers feel like they are in the story with Leo, or it at least builds a connection between the  reader and the text. Structurally, the images remain on the darker side because Leo is a ghost. Leo can also touch objects such as doorknobs and blankets, but people cannot touch feel his touch. The only person who can see and feel him is Jane, but just as people cannot see him, he cannot see the crown that Jane says she is wearing. This puts emphasis on the idea that the characters in this book can only see what they believe in. Ideologically, this book could teach readers that they should accept who they are, and if they can, find someone who accepts them for who they are as well.

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners

IMG_9673 [2578143]

Author/Illustrator: Laurie Keller

Publisher and Year: Christy Ottaviano Books, 2007

Number of Pages: 34

Genre: Fiction/Fable

IMG_9675 [2578144]A rabbit is skeptical about what his new otter neighbors will be like. He is told to treat them as he would want them to treat him. After realizing how he’d like to be treated, he sees that maybe his new neighbors won’t be so bad after all.

This story works well as a mirror and a door. There may be some children who feel torn about how to treat someone because they are different, this book would help with that. When people see others who are different they tend to feel that maybe that person shouldn’t be treated like everyone else. There is no real power distribution in this book, as this book just really focuses on the idea that one should treat others how they’d like to be treated.

Perceptually, lots of onomatopoeia is used throughout the book, making the book easier to read and helping children with sounds. The text adds to the images and the images add to the text. There is a lot of dialogue used, as the whole book is really just the rabbit going through his thoughts. Structurally, images are bright and full of color, making the text more entertaining. Facial expressions and specific fonts help the reader understand how the text should be read. The illustrator gives examples of ways to be friendly, so there is little confusion as to what the author means (they are the same person). The illustrator also breaks down and defines certain words, such as “cooperate” for beginning readers. Ideologically, this book teaches manners such as saying please, thank you, and excuse me to others. It also teaches readers how to be polite in different languages, such as Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Pig Latin. It emphasizes great traits such as honesty, kindness, and sharing, which are important to teach children at a young age.

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

mufaro 2

Author/Illustrator: John Steptoe

Publisher and Year: Puffin Books, 1987

Number of Pages: 29

Genre: Folktalemufaro

Analysis: In “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale,” Mufaro has two beautiful daughters: Nyasha, who is kind and considerate, and Manyara, who is rude and selfish. Manyara learns a valuable lesson when she uses sneaky tactics to become the queen. This book would work well as a mirror for the intended audience. Firstly, young, African American girls should know that they are beautiful. Secondly, it teaches children that kindness and generosity will prevail over spitefulness and rudeness. There is a King who is searching for a wife to make the queen. Together, these two have all of the power over the people. This story is an African tale, so the African culture is represented and it is evident in the clothing and accessories that the people wear. It is also evident in the marrying off of daughters to the King. From my understanding, the outfits, traditions, and names align well with the African culture.

In this book, the text (mostly dialog) tells the story and explains the images. The text is off to the side of pictures, although the text does play a major part in the understanding of the book.

Nyasha is often in a darker light when she is being made fun of by her sister. When Nyasha is not being insulted by her sister, she looks majestic and a light shines on her, while Manyara always has her hands on her hips and a disapproving look on her face. Nyasha appears much bigger than Manyara when she is crowned queen.

Manyara teaches us to always be kind to others. Do to others as you would have them do to you.


The Three Pigs

IMG_9614 [405971]

Author/Illustrator: David Wiesner

Publisher and Year: Clarion Books, 2001

Number of Pages: 38

Genre: Fantasy/Fiction

IMG_9615 [405972]

Analysis: “The Three Pigs” is a book where Wiesner puts a weird but interesting twist on the typical “The Three Little Pigs” story by not only allowing the pigs to stand strong, but to move on into a whole different story. From there, they escape the big bad wolf along with a new friend. This book could function as a door into the imaginative world of the three pigs. An old tale that many of us grew up on now has a huge twist on it, opening up our eyes to the many possibilities. In the typical beginning of the story, the wolf has all of the power. Then, the pigs become powerful and essentially “create their own ending” to the story. The images align with my understanding of culture by allowing the pigs to go in and out of reality. They are also allowed to dip into another story and experience something from that and (literally) take something from it.

Perceptually, the words in this book sometimes contradict the images, but it works. The words are typical “The Three Little Pigs,” and dialog is used often.

Structurally, the pigs “come out” of story and “go into” another. They look realistic when they’re not in their story, and the pictures are framed when their classic story is being told. The pigs move in the right direction into the new story.

Similar to the original story, “The Three Pigs” shows us that bullies never prevail.