I chose to focus my rhetorical analysis on three children’s picture books that combine vibrant images with text, to make them great resources for children. The books I chose to focus on are “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault, “Eating the Alphabet” by Lois Ehlert and “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert. All of the books are illustrated by Lois Ehlert.
These texts are directed at young children learning fundamental concepts. “Eating the Alphabet” and “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” focus on learning the alphabet using images to engage children. Below, the images show how in “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”, the alphabet is climbing up a tree. In “Eating the Alphabet”, Ehlert relates each letter to a fruit or a vegetable. Both texts use the design element of contrast, the text of the story and colorful images really contrast the stark white page. In addition, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” has a colorful frame around each page which directs the reader’s eye to the center, which shows the letters and the coconut tree.
“Planting a Rainbow” discusses the process of plants growing from seeds into flowers. In addition, the book also focuses on the colors of the rainbow related to the flowers that were planted. Since this text focuses on learning the colors of the rainbow, it includes warm and cool colors which are engaging to the students reading the text.
Since all three multimodal texts are intended for an early childhood audience, the author successfully appeals to this audience using bright images and topics of interest for a young child.
The primary purpose of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” is to teach a young child the letters of the alphabet using a catchy rhyme and a funny concept, letters climbing up a coconut tree. The primary purpose of “Eating the Alphabet” is to teach a young child what sounds the letters of the alphabet make. For example, on the page with the letter “B”, Ehlert included the word “bean” along with an image of beans so a student can begin to understand the sound the letter makes. Both of these texts place a design emphasis on the way the letters look. For example, in “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” the letters on the page are bold, colorful and use a large font in comparison to the other text on the page. In addition, in “Eating the Alphabet”, when a new letter is introduced on the page, that letter is shown using very large font to place the emphasis on that letter. The primary purpose of “Planting a Rainbow” is to teach a young child the process of planting a seed and the colors of the rainbow. “Planting a Rainbow” uses color to place emphasis. When the author is describing a certain color, everything on the page represents that color. The secondary purpose of all three texts is to use the texts as a review for children who already understand the concepts that the three texts represent.
All three of the texts are picture books so the context in which a young student would look at them would be by physically holding or looking at the book as they read it or have it read to them. The authors and illustrator use fundamental concepts and cheerful, bright images so the books can culturally transcend. The message and images will never be out of date as they will always appeal to a young learner. The readers will interact with these texts in the classroom or at home from a family member helping them with the alphabet or colors.
Lois Ehlert, Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault have written many other children’s books in addition to the three discussed in this blog post, making them extremely credible resources for the early childhood field. All three of the books have been used for years in classrooms which means that future educators looking to use these books in their classroom will be able to find many ideas for the most effective way to incorporate them into lessons for young children.
All three of the multimodal texts are under the picture book genre. The images in the books elevate the student’s senses, assisting in learning the fundamental concepts these texts represent.
The rhetorical analysis on these three multimodal picture books demonstrates how the design elements create a powerful and effective message related to the purpose of each text.