Week of January 13, 2013: Painting with Words
Tuesday, January 15—Tone
Joyce Sweeney defines tone as “the emotional spirit conveyed by the author’s
voice.” Joyce went on to say that the emotional tone of a book can be conveyed by
whatever character is speaking (including the narrator).
Joyce told us that each children’s genre often has its own unique tone, and that
picture books are often “exuberant, innocent, and exciting.” Let’s take a further
look into the tone of some-known picture books. I think we'll find that the tone found
in picture books is actually quite broad. Consider a few examples.
§ In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck is quiet and lullaby-ish.
§ My Name Is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry has an independent, strong, almost defiant tone as Isabella explores the different historical women she might be.
§ The Cowboy and Octopus by Jon Scieszka is silly, goofy, and tongue-in-cheek. At the same time, there is a warm-hearted tone that is created from the friendship of two very unlikely characters.
§ The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee is laugh-out loud funny in tone and has a relatable quality to its emotional impact.
§ Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge (an older book, but one of my all-time favorites) by Mem Fox is warm, sincere, touching, and almost sad.
§ Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is soft, gentle, serene, and relational in tone.
Tone is only limited by your imagination. The story you have to tell in your heart
has a tone by virtue of the emotions it makes you feel, that the characters portray,
and that readers will feel—be it funny, sincere, heart-warming, or goofballish.
Find the story you have to tell, uncover the emotions related to that story, and then
you’ll discover its tone.
For You To Do:
Pick up any picture book and give it a read. Then decide what emotional tone(s)
that book conveys.