There are many literature methods that are used to enable the student understand the meaning of the story or what the author wants to convey. When writing children books, it is imperative that these literal devices as well as the language be carefully formulated so as to enable the children understand the message be conveyed and also for the reader to learn the lesson that the author wants to convey.
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The plot of the story must be carefully organized such that it is coherent and the children understand the story. Various authors use different literal devices so as to convey the message to the child and also ensure that he enjoys reading the book as well as in deriving meaningful teaching from the stories (Zile & Napoli 9).
In this work, a comparative analysis of three books with the story of Thumbelina was carried out. The main aim was to compare and contrast the different aspects and literal devices that authors used to convey the message to the child.
The three fairly tail books present the same story of Thumbelina. The plot starts with the magical birth of the girl. After she is born, she is happy and her mood is jovial till the day she is taken by the mother toad who wants her to marry her ugly son. The girl is kept floating on a lily leaf at the middle of the river and she can’t be able to escape.
At this point, the books show that the girl in a sad mood as she doesn’t want to be married by the ugly frog. The girl is rescued from the trap by fish who chew the stem of the lily allowing her to escape. After escape however, she does not go to her original home, rather, she is swept by the river until she is captured by the bug. The bug saves the girls and then takes her to a leaf.
However, the other beetles are not pleased with her and they consider her ugly. The beetle agrees with the perception of the others and lets the girl go. Thumbelina then lives in the glass where she eats nectar for survival. At this point the girl is happy but the cold season of winter affects her as she does not have food and shelter. She is again rescued by a rat who takes her to her home.
She is to stay in the house until winter is over. During her stay, she is happy and helps the old mouse in cleaning the house. Her life seems happy but again she is thrown into confusion when the rich mole who stays underground wants to marry her. She again becomes confused as she does not want to marry the mole and stay underneath the ground in darkness.
Thumbelina then rescues a sparrow at the verge of death. She nurses the sparrow until she recovers and flies away. Just before she gets married to the mole, the sparrow she saved rescues her and she takes her to a good kingdom where there will be no winter. In the new kingdom, Thumbelina finds people who are exactly like her. The prince of that kingdom falls in love with her and she marries her. Then the girl becomes happy in her life.
The plot of the story is an important aspect (Tara 7). All the three story leave the child with suspense and this makes him want to read ahead and find out what happened to the poor girl. The author swings the mood of the child from sadness to happiness and from certainty to uncertainty. The story begins with a sad mother who then gets happy after getting Thumbelina.
This mood swings to uncertainty when the toad kidnaps the girls. The tone then changes to sadness when the toad frog proposes; this mood and tone swing ensures that the kid is interested to know what happened next. These changes ensure that the child get some suspense and wants to continue reading.
There is also a systematic flow of events that ensures that the girl returns to her people. This does not happen just once but the girl passes through a lot of uncertainty so as to reach her people and to become the princess.
Use of illustrations and pictures
One of the main aspects in the three children books is the use of illustrations so as to convey the message to the children. In all the three books, we find that the use of pictures being predominant in all the pages. The use of pictures enables the child to visualize how the character in the story looked like. The pictures also enable the child to perceive a given scenario that is being narrated in the story.
For example when Thumbelina is born from a flower, we see a big flower busting (Biro 177). Also when the frog carries Thumbelina, the picture portrays the same theme. Most of the illustrations are used when unveiling a new plot in the story.
When the writers is indicating a new development in the story, he uses pictures to illustrate this event, for example, when the frog take Thumbelina for be the wife to her son, the illustrations shows this concept (Biro, 177 & Tanner, 7 ). Pictures enable the child to create their own imaginations and also connect the character they see in the books with the event that’s taking place. This enables them to perceive the books as being real to them (Nikki 5).
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The illustrations are also used to create a mood and the tone of the story. When Thumbelina is taken captive by the frog and the mole, we see her crying and the pictures also show the same effect. The use of pictures to create a given mood to the mind of the child reader is important as the child can closely follow the story and understand.
The pictures in these stories are also used to provide entertainment to the child reader. In all the three books, we find attractive pictures about the unfolding story. These pictures are used to entertain the kids as they learn the story. There is need to capture the attention of the child by drawing pictures to represent the aspect be discussed. Through this entertainment, the child can study the whole books without be distracted or lacking concentration.
Pictures are also used to enable the child recall what different pictures means. In Tanner, (4) book, the reader is first supposed to understand what different pictures mean and then apply them as he reads the story. Through these pictures, the children ability to recall the meaning of the pictures is tested.
Use of large print
Another method that is used is the large text and pictures. These enable the child to read with ease. Children are likely to get bored if they have to strain reading. This large text enable them read with ease and also understand the story without straining.
In the three story books analyzed, we find that large texts are used throughout the story. In additions to ease of learning, the use large text provides a lot of enjoyment to the kids when learning as they don’t have to struggle so as to read.
The use of onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia writing entails the use of language to describe what is happening in the story. The story describes what the writer sees smells, touches and tastes. In this story we find the use of onomatopoeia writing be very common.
For example when the frog’s son sees Thumbelina, all the frog could say was “croak, croak croak”( Biro 181). The book also says that the birds sang “tweet, tweet what a beautiful girl” (Biro 183). However, the use of descriptive language is not found in the other two fairy tale book
Use of descriptive writing
Use of descriptive witting is also common in the story. In descriptive writing, the author describes a given event so that the reader can get a grasp of what is going on. In the three storybooks, the use of descriptive writing is found in most parts of the books. Most of the events are described in full and this enables the reader to understand what the story is all about.
In the three fairly tales, there are a lot of instances where the descriptions are used. For example, Thumbelina living conditions and what she used to do before she was taken by the frog are described at length so as to bring the notion that she was happy and comfortable.
There is a lot of descriptive writing is used to describe every place where Thumbelina goes to. For example, when he was rescued by the fish, the author describes how she floated and birds would sing for her. The winter is described as be very cold and Thumbelina was very hungry.
One of the most used themes in the children books is extraordinary exaggeration. Most of the exaggerations appears not real to an adult but to a child, it is real. Literal exaggerations are found in all the three books under study. In Biro (p 189) book, the mole is depicted as having a big house underground “he is very rich and has a big house underground”.
Another exaggeration is when the fish saw Thumbelina crying, they nibbled the stem of the lily plant so as to rescue her from the frog. In the story we find the fish recognizing that the Thumbelina was too beautiful to be married by the ugly toad and they nibbled the lily stem Pictures are also used to enable the child recall what different pictures mean.
In Tanner (12) book the reader is first supposed to understand what different pictures mean and then apply them as he reads the story. Through these pictures, the children ability to recall the meaning of the pictures is tested.
There is also very many instances when animals behave and act like human beings. Again these are aspects of enhance the learning process and bring about enjoyment when reading the book. The birds, the frogs, rat and mole are all able to talk with Thumbelina. The physical size of Thumbelina is also an exaggeration as it is not possible in the real life.
The use of exaggerations in story a book is important as it increases the child ability to visualize the aspect that is be conveyed by the author. For example, the mole was rich because he had a big house. By relating this event to a big house, the students are able to perceive the amount of wealth that the mole has.
Use of Metaphor and Similes
A simile is used in literature to compare two different things. Similes use the words like and as so as to compare a certain character or event to another that is well understood. In the children books, it is imperative to use comparisons so that the child can understand a given aspect based on another aspect that is simple to compare. Similes includes words such as ‘as tall as a tree, as fat as a pig”.
In the three books, It was found out that similes were used to enable the children understand a particular event. When Thumbelina was born, she is described as “she was beautiful but no bigger than the young wife’s thumb (Biro 189) and “the prince thought that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen” (Biro 198).
The Dyer and stone (2009) book describe Thumbelina as “she was so tiny that she was only half as big as a thumb” the toad son is described as “He was as ulgy as his mother”( Dyer and stone 16). Smiles are also used in the Tanner, (3) to compare different aspects, for example Thumbelina is compared to the size of a thumb.
The use of similes and metaphor adds value to the story as they help the child reader to connect the two aspects, one is the unknown complex situations and the other is the known less complex aspect (Larry 5). The use of metaphors and similes also enable the child to understand the story in a more precise manner as they can link a particular character to a particular event (Murray and Rosamund 5).
In all the stories, a lot of personifications have been used to so as to create value and meaning to some aspects and characters. In the pictures, we see the mouse, the rat, toad and the beetle behaving like human beings.
All the activities they do are closely related to the human activity. This creates values in the books as the child is able to relate the current story with a certain event that occurs at home. For example, the mole comes as dressed in human clothing, the rat is portrayed as living in a house and all the animals can be able to talk.
Use of recall
The use of recall to enable the reader to understand the story by using pictures to describe the characters in the story. Recall can also be tested by asking questions after the child have read the story. This aspect is found in Tanner, 1989 story about Thumbelina. The author first creates a list of pictures for all the characters in the story, then, throughout the story, these pictures are used instead of the name of the character.
The importance of using pictures so that the kid can recall the names of the actor is beneficial as it keeps the child actively engaged during the study and also sharpens the child memory. The other two books don’t have this aspect.
Use of simple and straight forward language
Another aspect of all the three fairly tales analyzed is the use of simple language to communicate the message. The authors understand that the ability of the child to comprehend issues is low and as such, he has to use plain English to explain a particular issue. The use of simple language enable the students to understand the whole story and this important in the learning process of a child.
In Tanner, (5) books, the use of pictures in the books instead of word has been done so as to ensure that the kids get an understanding of what the story is about and also recall the name of the characters (Dyer and stone 16)
Another tool that used in one of the tales is repetition. This is done so as to ensure that the child understand the meaning of the sentences and also links up the current story event with the previous event. For example “the leaf floated away down the stream and Thumbelina floated too” she floated away from the toad and away from the toad’s son, she floated downstream into the sunshine “(Dyer and stone 16) here it can be seen that the act of Thumbelina floating and escaping from the toad is repeated severally so that the child can understand and link the previous event and the current development in the story.
In conclusion, various literally concepts and methods are used in the preparations of children’s books. These literary concepts enhance the learning process and they enable the child understand the story, develop interests in reading through the story, get some pleasure and develop a liking for story books.
Among the main methods used are; the use of illustrations, similes, metaphors, descriptive writing, repetitions, use of exaggerations, and the use of straight forward language. The use of illustrations enables the reader to understand the current event by linking the words with the pictures. When writing children stories, it is necessary to use similes and metaphor.
The use of this technique enables the child to understand complex phenomena by comparing it with a simple event. Another dominant aspect is the use descriptive writing where the author describes a given area, person and event as much as he can. Exaggerations is also another dominant theme, exaggerations are out of the norm events and they are used widely in children stories as they help the child understand what is being described better.
Repetition entails describing of a given event over and over again. This helps the children better understand the story and further, the students are able to connect the current happening with the previous event in the story. In culminations most of the aforementioned styles are used together so as to develop a clear and coherent story that will impact positively to the children learning process.
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