Issue Details: First known date: 2000... 2000 Metafiction and Humour in 'The Great Escape from City Zoo'
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McMillan points out how the use of metafiction in postmodern picture books adds to the 'range of play' already available within picture book compositions and functions to 'generate reader movement between the internal and external positions constructed by the text' (5). She articulates the connection between metafiction and humour, pointing to how play-oriented activities are seen as central to a child's acquisition of language and the development of complex cognitive social skills. Drawing from John Stephens who argues that the use of intertextuality in children's texts is fundamentally problematic, McMillan discusses how metafiction and humour both work to 'foreground the gap between signs and their referents' by relying on 'an audience knowledge of intertexts', and the recognition and implications of specific signifiers (5), with a close reading of Tohby Riddle's The Great Escape from City Zoo. The reading looks at how the text 'uses satire to comment on ways of viewing the world' (7) and how the reader is positioned to question the ways in which language structures reality (10). McMillan concludes that 'while the text encodes the possibility of escaping the net of resonsibility', there is an overriding moral sense that 'victory lies in the fun of the adventure and by extension, in the enjoyment and mastery of the fictional game' (10).

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Last amended 8 Nov 2007 12:06:37
5-11 Metafiction and Humour in 'The Great Escape from City Zoo'AustLit Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature