Questions and Answers - Essay Example

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Novelty items always have a way of finding a niche in the market and creating an intensified level of hype that often quickly finds its way into a downward spiral. Quite a few, however, instead of suffering the inevitable downfall after the loss of interest from the population…
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Novelty items always have a way of finding a niche in the market and creating an intensified level of hype that often quickly finds its way into a downward spiral. Quite a few, however, instead of suffering the inevitable downfall after the loss of interest from the population find themselves not only to be more than enduring a sustained existence but to have in fact been categorized as a viable alternative that has attained a recognizable status as a bona fide genre. The same proves to be true in the field of children’s books where it is a matter of rousing nothing less than the imagination of young minds that is the main thrust of their business. The advent of lift-the-flap books has created a new generation of stories told in a format that integrates the awe inspired by imagination that can only be best achieved through ingenious writing and the visual stimulation that is brought by tangible images before a child’s very eyes.
This type of children’s books more than qualifies as a run-of-the-mill bedtime story. It is meant to capture the attention of the reader through active role play. Smith provides for a great analogy that she has associated with lift-the-flap books as inspired by Jane Austen. The feeling of the reader that she attributed to the scene with Catherine instigates awkwardness that is simultaneous with a deep sense of desire to peek through (2001, p.225). Children are necessarily curious beings who have the propensity to want to know what’s next or who is it or what is that. It is by nature that anyone during their childhood had the desire to satisfy their curiosity in almost all circumstances. Lift-the-flap books have capitalized on this fundamental aspect that characterizes their core readers.
Instead of the mere act of reading words juxtaposed with pictures, flap books build up on the notion of the unknown and the idea of something foreign albeit exciting inside that rouses the senses. This is arguably the same feeling that any child, or adult for that matter, would have over a present during Christmas day. There is an interactive sense of involvement between the book and the reader where, being more than a passive part of the activity, one gets to decide when and how he will enjoy himself in the process. There is an invitation that motivates the inquisitive mind of the young reader to explore and determine on his own terms.
This reminds of the famous psychological marshmallow experiment where children would be promised to be given a reward if they will not eat the marshmallow for a given period of time. In essence, the test aims to determine the level of self-control of a child. But I believe further studies have found that those who were not able to wait and ate the marshmallow prematurely did not necessarily turn out to be unsuccessful in their adult life. To reiterate, children are innately curious and they are significantly determined to gratify their imagination by the need to figure out the mystery. Such is the fascination over flap books. They fulfil the anxious anticipation to find out what is hidden underneath. A good flap book would be able to deliver satisfaction where, more than accomplishing the mystery, the child surrenders to a sense of wonder as he realizes he was part of a captivating experience.
Smith, V. 2001. All in a Flap About Reading: Catherine Morland, Spot, and Mister Wolf. Children’s Literature in Education, 32 (3), pp.225-236. Read More
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