"'Look more closely, said mum: mothers in Anthony Brownes Picture Books
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Children's literature in education. - Exeter
, p. 145-159
University of Antwerp
In this article, Vanessa Joosen explores Anthony Brownes construction of motherhood in four of his picture books that focus on family. She focuses on the use of narratological perspective, visual point of view, and intertextual references to explain how an ideology of motherhood is evoked. While Browne makes use of child narrators and focalizers whose view of their mothers is limited, some of his picture books contain illustrations that further explore the mothers psyche and move beyond the childs point of view. His construction of motherhood over the years follows rather than sets trends. Piggybook offers a rather simplistic role reversal in the heyday of second-wave feminism and My Mum conforms to postfeminist new momism. Zoo and The Shape Game are more artistically complex and open-ended in their possible interpretations of the mothers psyche. In all four books, Brownes mothers, especially in comparison to his fathers, are depicted with more responsibilities: the families rely on the mothers presence and care for their coherence and emotional well-being. The mothers invariably bring a sense of civilization and sophistication to Brownes fictional families.