Visual metonymy in children’s picture books

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This article aims to explore how the use of visual metonymies in picture books contributes to children’s understanding of stories and, in turn, attracts their attention towards relevant aspects of the plot. The two picture books selected for analysis are Gorilla, by Browne and The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Potter, intended for children under 9 years of age. A multimodal and cognitive perspective is adopted here to apply the non-verbal trope of visual metonymy to the two picture books that form the sample texts (Forceville, 2009, 2010; Forceville & Urios-Aparisi, 2009). The results of the analysis show that visual metonymies are essentially used in children’s tales to create narrative tension in certain stages of the plot and, in turn, to establish a bond between the represented participants and the child-viewer.


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