Children's Literature: Illustrated Storybooks Essay

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“Picture books are more than just illustrated storybooks, with the written text, fonts, and illustrations all part of the story.” (Lewis, 2001). Picture books have deeper meanings behind the text and illustrations. The combination of the written and visual language contributes to the development of ideas and characters that can be related to society and personal experiences of the reader. In this essay I am going to discuss language features (written and visual), and ideas in relation to Melu, written by Kyle Mewburn, and illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly.

Melu is a picture book about a mule named Melu who lives with his herd in the sun-baked hills on an island surrounded by a glittering green sea and lush green grass. For
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Mewburn has created the enjoyment of characters through using humour, alliteration, onomatopoeia and strong verbs to give them an identity that appeals to children. “They always clip-clopped in the same direction” is far more interesting compared to “They always walked in the same direction.” This makes the story much more appealing, especially for children. The repetition of these also help children to predict the text and encourages reader participation (Blakeney-Williams, 2011). This is a common feature among award winning picture books, which will be a contributing factor to why Melu won the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Choice Award. Using this combination of features, Mewburn is also educating the audience on what sounds certain animals make when they are walking.This is a fun and creative way for children to learn about animals.

Kyle Mewburn uses strong verbs throughout the story. This adds interest to the story and also encourages children to use strong verbs in their own writing, therefore helping to develop their written literacy skills. Mewburn uses appropriate verbs to assist in establishing the mood. An example of this is when Melu, Goat and Bull are galloping through the lush green grass. Galloping is an action that is associated with happiness, therefore enhancing the audiences understanding of the mood. Another example of a strong verb in the story is when Bull shoves the trunk clear of the path. The use of

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