Reading and Reinterpreting Picture Books on Children’s Television

Implications for Young Children’s Narrative Literacy

Kunkun Zhang*, Emilia Djonov, Jane Torr

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Bookaboo is a television programme aiming to promote literacy and reading among young children. In each episode, a celebrity reads a book to Bookaboo, a dog who plays the drums in a rock band, in order to help him overcome stage fright. Using the episode featuring the picture book (Cowell and Layton in That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, 2006) as a case study, this article explores how this type of adaptation of picture books transforms the original narrative, with implications for children’s developing narrative literacy. Taking a multimodal social semiotic perspective, this study investigates the changes in meaning which result from the employment of semiotic resources such as animation, sound, and camera movement in the representation of the book on the television show. We argue that the deployment of such resources can subtly reshape the meanings expressed through the modes of language and images in the original picture book, potentially affecting the child viewer’s engagement with the narrative. Examining the use of these resources in the picture book’s televisual representation is thus an important first step towards developing frameworks for evaluating the ability of television programmes that incorporate picture book reading to support children’s literacy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-147
    Number of pages19
    JournalChildren's Literature in Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

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