topsy-turvies and children’s sense-making

Still noting points from Ursula Kolbe‘s Rapunzel’s Supermarket

According to Kolbe: “Rather than thinking of children’s image-making as ‘art’, it may be more helpful to see it in a different light. Just as adults use notes and diagrams to assist understanding, so children use images to make sense of things and play with ideas.
But, you might ask, what about the drawings children make of fantastical things, the impossible, the hilariously nonsensical? How do these imaginary worlds help them make sense of the real world? The best answer I’ve found comes from the Russian poet and writer, Kornei Chukovsky. In his book From Two to Five, he looks at how young children think and, in particular, discusses their delight in nonsense verse – or ‘topsy-turvies’ as he calls them. He observes that children relish jokes about an ‘upside-down world’ precisely because they know the real order of things. Fantasies and topsy-turvies of all kinds actually help children to play with ideas about the real world.” (p.41)

Ref: (italics in original, emphases in blue bold mine) Ursula Kolbe (2007) Rapunzel’s Supermarket: All about young children and their art. Second Edn. Pippinot Press: Byron Bay, NSW.

Reference is to: Kornei Chukovsky (1971) From Two to Five. University of California Press, Berkeley


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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