so the cover design for sara pennypacker‘s (2015) meet the dullards is off the charts! hilarious – and SO BORING – just like the mr. and mrs. dullard! but leave it to pennypacker’s sharp, sarcastic lines that give power to the dullard kids. their imaginations are the only thing that allows them to persevere against the ultimate boredom doom team: their boring parents.
the use of pennypacker’s sarcasm is noteworthy. note only does it make this children’s book more adult-friendly, it also shows how writers can push typical language expectations for their intended audiences, especially with the aid of illustrations. salmieri does a wonderful job complementing pennypacker’s words with his illustrations. the characters’ facial expressions (i absolutely love the eyes! you’ll see when you read!) tend to reflect pennypacker’s words. meet the dullards can definitely spark discussions about how words and pictures work together, especially when there are language dynamics (e.g. sarcasm, unfamiliarity with certain words, etc.).
pennypacker also packs a lot of dialogue into meet the dullards so those looking to incorporate dialogue in their children’s book or to explore how it’s done might check this one out!
the other aspect i loved about meet the dullards is that there are several scenes in which pennypacker seems to be inviting readers to respond. the ice cream stand scene, for example, seems to beckon audience participation and response. how children’s books authors anticipate readers’ responses – and when and how they elicit it – may prompt worthy writerly discourse.
would love to read what you think about this utterly BORING book (wink) in the comments below!