Monday, August 20, 2012

Word play

I can’t say enough good things about Word as Image by Ji Lee (793.734 LeW 2011) – but I’ll try.

It’s wonderfully creative, brilliantly playful, and just out-and-out unique.

The book is a compilation of words that somehow incorporate an attribute of that word just using the letters it’s made  from.

Let me give you a few examples:

Elevator:  the letter ‘V’ becomes a down button, the letter A without the crossbar become the up button. (See the image on the above book cover.)

Rabbit: The capital letter ‘R’ is turned upside down so that we see the rabbit ears sticking up.

Parallel: all the ‘l’s’ are made to run the whole length of the page running parallel with each other. The remaining letters are just normal.

These are all fairly straight forward examples that show the playful side of these constructions.  There are some word-images that are really, really clever but are a little more difficult to describe so that you’ll ‘see’ their impact.

Pollution: The word is located on the bottom edge of the page.  The two ‘l’s represent smokestacks  spewing out black smoke that colours in the top of the page.  The page is most black with graduations of grey.

New Orleans:  only the top half of these words appears on a write background and the missing bottom half are submerged.

China/Tibet:  Against a red background the huge, yellow, capitalized letters of China dominate the page. The word Tibet, in small white letters is engulfed in the ‘C’ in China.

My favourite is Israel/Palestine which you will just have to see for yourself.  Too much would be lost in trying to describe it.

I hope I’ve given enough description that you can get a sense of what some of the constructions entail both visually and metaphorically. Check out the author's website for more examples.

The author includes the ‘rules’ for constructing the word images which are basically to use only the shapes of the letters without adding extra parts.

What great potential for a classroom activity to demonstrate understanding for a topic.  Language arts, social studies and art could all be connected with this little book and the extension it provides.  The book is entertaining for many age levels but you should note that a couple of word-images, with more adult connotations, might make some people uncomfortable. 

Makes you want to start making your own word-images, doesn't it?
Today is Nonfiction Monday at the Jean Little Library.
Check out this round up of children's literature focused on nonfiction.


Perogyo said...

I love this so much. And you are right, I want to make some of my own now!

Tammy Flanders said...

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear about any word-images you make...

Perogyo said...

The only one I could think of so far is drop with an o shaped like a raindrop. Not as cool as his!

Tammy Flanders said...

I know what you mean. The bar has been set pretty high. I like your word-image.
Thanks for writing back.

Template Design | Elque 2007