Book: Playful Texts and the Emergent Reader
This book is about playful texts – picturebooks and novels which play on words and/or images in the same way that children play in games of make-believe, transforming the everyday world of common sense meaning into a self-reflexive playworld which works to disclose, and subvert, the rules which sustain it.
Taking their cues from the metacommunicative dimension of make-believe play, the texts employ transparent strategies which serve simultaneously to draw attention to the making of textual meaning and to disclose the processes by which those meanings are made. Playful texts specialise in multiple storylines, unreliable narrators, language play and visual games, parodies and nonsensical lists. We can therefore say that playful texts are essentially metafictive texts: texts which encourage young readers to reflect on the meaning-making procedures of narrative fiction. This process, it is argued, enhances cognitive development in a number of vital areas, especially in the area of metalinguistic awareness – the ability to identify and talk about the properties of language that is so critically important in the development of language and literacy skills.