Visual Literacy; Using Picture Books
The picture book chosen for this assignment is Fox written by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Ron Brooks. Fox was first published in 2000 by Allen and Unwin publishing house. The paperback edition was made available in 2004.
The complexity and different layers of meaning within Fox means it is suitable for all ages from five (5) to adult. It is highly recommended for nine (9) and above as the themes of friendship, loyalty and betrayal resonate with this age group through the connections they make to playground politics. Within a classroom setting as a novel study, or visual literacy study, the text is most suited to Stage Three and Four children. They have a better chance of fully understanding the complexity of the text and are more able to appreciate the full beauty of the work. Once the text begins to be analysis the deeper themes of betrayal, loneliness and anger may be upsetting to younger students.
Ron Brooks has constructed the illustrations for Fox through the use of a mixture of different media including collage, oil paints and etching. Brook explains
Rather than the traditional tools of pen and ink, pencil,
charcoal sticks, watercolour, I used just about anything I
could lay my hands on, collage, oil paint, acrylic, watercolour,
shellac, oil sticks; and instead of drawing, I gouged
scratched and scraped my way through all this stuff to
find my lines, using kitchen tools, bits of tin, etc, then
worked oil sticks into them, rubbing off, glazing over
the top, gouging back in again, vanishing, so every image
is a conglomerate of layers and levels of materials (Anderson 2004:15)
The layout of Fox follows the pattern of written English, where what is known is given at the beginning of a clause and what is new comes at the end (Anderson 2004: 4). In each double page spread what is known is on the left and what is new is on the right. An excellent example of this is on pages eight...