In Pictures and In Words – 1st Takeaway – Technique 25 – Building Meaning from One Idea to the Next and Zyra’s PINK boots…


Ray presents Technique 25 by describing something to notice, in this case “illustrations may be connected so that significant meaning builds across them, the details in one picture suggesting what might be pictured in later illustrations.”

She offers the book Roller Coaster by Maria Frazee as a mentor text, which shows the expressions on riders’ faces as the coaster speeds along the track.  The illustrations lead the reader through the series of twists and turns until two “macho” guys get off.  This picturebook truly marries story and illustration as the illustrations do most of the meaning work.

I tried this technique using Rain by Linda Ashman.  This story is about a grandpa who doesn’t like the rain and a little boy who is so “hoppy” jumping in mud puddles.  The illustrations are bold and bright in the scenes with the little boy and dark around the grandpa.  The primary subject and their expressions are clear and vivid.  This was discussed in the reading.

In discussing the book, Zyra proceeded to tell me that she was going to jump in mud puddles after school.  I asked her to tell me how she knew that she would do this and she said, “well, me and my mom planned it this morning.”

So, I divided a piece of paper into 6 portions and asked Zyra to draw her story from morning to puddle jumping.

She was engaged and took her time thinking about the time she woke up, talked to her mom, went to school (that’s her teacher in the window:-)) and finally was able to jump in mud puddles.  She took great care in creating the illustrations, using colored pencil and then going back over each frame with watercolor.  We talked about how the idea of the pink boots changes from frame to frame as she got closer to puddle jumping.  It showed the reader how excited she was getting.  Zyra made them dark piand bold, which carried her idea from frame to frame.

I was greatly surprised in how this transferred to her writing.  Zyra’s teacher continues to tell me that she will only write one or two letters on any given writing project, yet in this instance, she was beginning to think through the sounds in each word.  It was a HUGE step for this child.




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