The chaperoning theory distinguishes between comics and picture books based on the reading audience that each form anticipates. In this essay, we build on the chaperoning theory in order to examine two other emergent types of texts for children: first, early readers in comics form, and second, electronic picture books. The essay demonstrates how TOON Books, a recent and much-lauded publisher of early readers that use the visual grammar of comics, invokes skill-based leveling and standardized educational norms in order to encourage specific sorts of interactions among adult, child, and text. Second, we critically examine the conflicted professional literature on electronic picture books, pointing out how sentiment and ideology reinforce the now-standard resistance to electronic texts. Both early-reader comics and electronic picture books, we argue, challenge the traditional chaperoning role of adults in shaping the meaning of visual texts for children.


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pp. 459-486
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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