Analyzing picturebooks: semiotic, literary, and artistic frameworks

Frank Serafini, Stephanie F. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The multimodal and visual nature of children’s picturebooks has been documented in research emanating from multiple fields of inquiry. In this article, the authors present three types of analytical frameworks that are useful for conducting research on contemporary picturebooks as multimodal entities. Each framework draws upon different aspects of visual images, design features, and written language, and uses different theoretical lenses to call forth particular aspects of contemporary picturebooks. The three analytical frameworks are: (1) social semiotic frameworks, (2) literary frameworks, and (3) artistic frameworks. This article suggests that only through an orchestration of a range of analytical frameworks can scholars and educators begin to understand the complexity of contemporary picturebooks and their role in educational settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-350
Number of pages21
JournalVisual Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2024


  • literary criticism
  • multimodality
  • picturebooks
  • social semiotics
  • visual and multimodal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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