We’re Tired of Living in a House


In the picture book “We Were Tired of Living in a House” by Liesel Moak Skorpen the illustrations and words work together to give a complete image.  In the first image the picture and the words work together to establish a degree of pathos.  The images give a warm feeling summer days and the illustrator has made the children appear especially cute while the word choice is such that you get a potential feeling of nostalgia to one’s own childhood.  The logos in this passage is mainly present in the superbly descriptive illustrations and his concise but effective diction.  Even without the pictures one could picture exactly what the scene looked like.  The word placement is reflective of how important the wording is.  He needed it to describe some aspects of the imagery that would elude a picture, but the majority of the spread’s focus is on the image as it is much more effective in showing the scene than the author could be in a children’s book.img_3594

This second spread is a slightly different story.  In this spread almost everything is covered by the illustration.  The logos, and pathos are both represented by the image, both demonstrating the physical situation and logic of what has happened and evoking an emotional response with how each of the characters is responding to the situation.  This spread furthers the original point that the author only uses the text to augment what is shown in the pictures.  Where before he wanted to show a level of detail that was beyond illustration, here he simply needs to show the transition between the previous spread and this one.  With the words “Until we sank” displaced and mostly out of the way the space of the spread can focus on showing each character and the setting to it’s fullest potential.

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4 Responses to We’re Tired of Living in a House

  1. Andrew Morris says:

    I had never heard of this book before reading your post. It looks like a very interesting book and I think that I would really enjoy it. I really enjoy the pencil illustrations. Even though they are only black and white the illustrator did a great job portraying the scenes. I think that the variety of the layout of the pages is very interesting. Similar to “Where the Wild Things Are” the author is changing how much of the page is being taken up by the illustration which changes the focus from the words to the picture. On the second page, you almost have to search for the words when you turn the page. The words are also lowercase which makes them even less important. As a result of this big change between the double page spread of the image when you turn the page the reader almost pauses for a second and wonders what happened.

  2. Cameron Small says:

    I actually never heard of this book, but it seems enjoyable. I completely agree with your statement about how the images show a lot of emotion from the characters and evoke emotion from the reader. This book seems to be quite different from most children’s books in that the images are extremely detailed physically and elaborate in how they portray emotions (particularly negative emotions). I think one of the elements that adds to this strong pathos is the fact that the book is hand-sketched black and white style. It’s almost as if the author removed the color to remove the happiness of the characters. At least in these two pictures shown. This book reminds me of the picture book shown in class, that was in black and white and had no words. (The one about a immigrating family). I think picture books that take the black and white art style often tell more emotional stories than books in color with more simplistic art styles. I also think this makes them more memorable. I’ve also noticed that a lot of animated films and shorts tend to do this too. The fact that there are so few words to explain each page also contributes to the sadness of the situation the characters are in.

  3. Marc Larvie says:

    This is a unique book I have never heard about before. I enjoy the illustrations very much, and feel that they do indeed evoke a sense of nostalgia to the reader’s own childhood. This is an interesting point that you make, because while picture books are mainly meant for children, when read by an adult they can incite much different emotions than they would in a child. A modern day child reading this book may feel either a relation to the characters in the story, but also perhaps a sense of confusion about the rusticity and ‘ancient’ quality of the images. For example, most kids today are very protected and aren’t allowed to go on adventures on their own on a raft, for fear of them getting hurt. In contrast, an adult reading the book could yearn for the past of going outside to have fun and going on wild adventures with friends. In short, the different responses of the dual audience to this book is very interesting and important to examine.

  4. Suehyun Jin says:

    I agree with your analysis of the first page. The picture definitely gives the image of a family enjoying a vacation and the empty space in the first page emphasizes that emotion. Like you mentioned, character’s age helps in feeling nostalgic for adult readers, but for young readers, it helps to relate to the characters. Although I understand how descriptive words are enough to show the image of the scene, I do not understand how descriptive words can be logos. I think the story you analyzed emphasizes on pathos. I like how the second page mainly has pictures. Words are only used to continue the story and the picture visualizes the situation; the wooden platform where the children were sank under the water and only the elevated part where the kid with a telescope avoided the water. I think you can elaborate more on how words can be logos in both pages.

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