Pika Vončina’s narrative picture books

Maja Verdonik, Melita Mlikota
mverdonik@ufri.uniri.hr, melita.mlikota@uniri.hr
This paper presents a selection of narrative picture books by the Croatian illustrator Pika Vončina, who appears in the role of both the author of the text and its illustrator. Picture books belong to the genre of children’s animalistic literature and our interpretation is based on contemporary research into narrative picture books as pieces of art within children’s literature, in which the same narrative is told through an interplay between the verbal and visual discourse. We apply Smiljana Narančić Kovač’s approach to interpretation as well as the approaches of other authors. The picture books are analysed with regards to the narrative levels and the narrators’ roles in both discourses. The results of the analysis indicate that Pika Vončina’s picture books often comprise intradiegetic narrative levels on which heterodiegetic or homodiegetic narrators produce embedded hypodiegetic narratives. Some picture books contain multiple narrative sequences, which in some instances extend to several picture books. Along with the permeation of verbal and visual discourse, some picture books also display some of the postmodernist characteristics of children’s literature as interpreted by Stjepan Hranjec, such as language games, playfulness with the form, irony, and narration outside of and beyond the author. Given the sometimes deprecating attitude towards picture books in general, Pika Vončina’s opus of narrative picture books is an important contribution to the artistic production of contemporary Croatian picture books within Croatian children’s literature.
Key words
Pika Vončina; picture book; children’s literature; postmodernism; narrative; animalistic children’s literature
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