Another look at illustrations in children’s books- this time the placement of the characters- as much as the authors have specific choices to make, so do illustrators- they always want to be saying something- we just need to look deeper to find out what.

When I couldn’t get crab apples I used horse chestnuts

—The height of a character on the page often marks their social status or their own self-image:
  • High positioning equates to positive status, favour with other characters or high spirits
  • Characters low down in the page are less confident, afraid, glum or looked down upon


  • Framed: limited glimpse ‘into’ a world.
  • Unframed: view from ‘within’


Poor Peter Rabbit.

By setting the viewpoint low to the ground with restricted vision of Peter’s pursuer, Beatrix potter creates tension for the reader.

The close-up position allows us to feel his fear and desperation. We are not quite under the sieve with Peter, but close enough to see the danger he is in.  The movement of the birds shows us the force of the sieve as it is thrust down upon him.




Little Hansel and Gretel are dwarfed by the menacing looking trees in the imposing forest.

The picture is unframed.  We…

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