Crossing Boundaries: Exploring Metaleptic Transgressions in Contemporary Picturebooks

Frank Serafini, Stephanie F. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The use of metafictive devices in children's literature, in particular contemporary picturebooks, has been explored by numerous scholars working from different theoretical and disciplinary backgrounds. In particular, metafiction is often described as oppositional to traditional children's literature which often produces stable, knowable, readable texts which set out to seduce the child reader. Unlike traditional, linear narratives, metafiction highlights the constructed nature of fictional texts and calls attention to the distinction between fictional storyworlds and the real world of the reader. The purpose of this article is to share the results of a variation of qualitative content analysis, what we are calling multimodal content analysis (MMCA), to systematically investigate the ways authors, illustrators, and publishers use various metaleptic transgressions, or the devices used for breaching, disrupting, or transgressing of narrative, rhetorical, and ontological boundaries in the rendering of a fictional narrative in contemporary narrative picturebooks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-284
Number of pages24
JournalChildren's Literature in Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Metafiction
  • Narrative theory
  • Postmodern picturebooks
  • Qualitative content analysis


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