How do words and pictures come together to create meaning for the reader in The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Voices in the Park?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Beatrix Potter's perennial classic The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a traditional children's tale in a single narrative. Voices in the Park, by contrast, is composed of separate narratives from different characters and their points of view. As in many a children's tale, animals are used in place of people in both stories. In Potter's story, although the rabbits are personified, they still play the role of their essential nature and the other animals are described in a traditional manner; however, in Voices in the Park, simians replace humans in the role of parents and children, and they walk dogs in the park--an unrealistic situation.

The narratives of Voices in the Park are told from different points of view as the work is composed of vignettes that emphasize how the park and what happens there are perceived by the different narrators, adults and children both. This is an interesting perspective which exposes children to how the same place can be viewed and remembered differently by individuals. Perhaps because Voices in the Park is episodic, there is less a sense of movement in this work than there is in the flowing narrative of Peter Rabbit with its suspense and danger in sequential pictures as he flees Mr. McGregor, who has already killed Peter's father.

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