I first saw this book in a teacher's/children's store
in New York. At the time, the thin hardcover book sold for
the price of $11.95. Two reasons could be that the book is translated
(from Japanese into English) and is also an imported book (printed
and bound in Singapore).
Audience, and Purpose
The genre, as identified on the inner cover, is "Juvenile
Literature", specifically on the topic of flatulence. The document
genre of a hardcopy non-fiction book does not address task-immediacy
(although it would be quite amusing to see), but rather user-awareness.
The medium of a book serves to carry out its general purpose, that
is, to inform. The information is more idea-based, as the information
serves more to educate and entertain than to persuade or to teach
procedurally. Perhaps that is one reason why the book was in a teacher's
store--so to encourage elementary school teachers to purchase one from
the series (including others such as, All About Scabs, Breasts, The
Holes in Your Nose, The Soles of Your Feet, Contemplating Bellybuttons,
and Everyone Poops) for his or her classroom collection of books (of
science and education).
From the language of the text and the images, the targeted-audience
seems to be "juveniles", as the genre states. Interestingly enough,
the word, "juvenile", carries forth a number of implications including
a sense of immaturity. However, there is a sense that the audience
comprises of youngsters, who know how to read, or at least has a parent
or an adult that could read the text to them. The language is suited for such an age group as the author uses the words, "fart, gas", but not "flatulence".
Although the subject nature is treated quite lightly and is a "taboo" subject that rarely
anyone talks about, the author seems to "know" that the readers are
mature enough to read a book dedicated to the topic. The nature of the book
is quite appealing to adults as an entertaining read or for an "ice-breaker"
(if placed in an opportune place such as the coffee table).
The font face is a sans-serif font, with a proportional (to the ascenders and descenders, yet somewhat large,
x-height. The choice of a san-serif
font is appropriate for the audience as there are no serifs to distract
the readers. Furthermore, san-serif fonts seem to imitate a child's
printing--in which strokes would not have bracketed or unbracketed
serifs. The vertical stress of each character and large counters also
allow for an easier read, which would be appropriate at the level
of the target audience. Full caps is used for secondary text, such
as the depiction of speech (in speech balloons), which help readers
distinguish supporting text from primary text. Strangely enough, the
san-serif face has "double-story" 'a's but "single story" 'g's, which
is somewhat inconsistent with the style. However, the effect may also
aid the reader to differente between an "a" and other similar
letters of the alphabet (e.g. 'o'). Although the text size is relatively
small in comparison with the graphics, the font size is large enough
for a child to read without too much difficulty and be able to tell the difference
from one character to the next.
The illustrations complement the text and the nature
of the book very well (ethos). The images seem to mimic hand-drawn
pictures, much similar to the manner of how children draw and colour--the
people are not proportional and the colours bleed outside of the lines.
I am unclear why the illustrators chose to use green, yellow, blue,
and orange as the primary colours, which does not represent reality
at all. For example, a woman's hair is green and the body in the bathtub
is yellow. However, children often do not correspond colours with colours of reality when colouring. According to Tufte, colours function to either label, measure,
represent, or decorate. By process of elimination, colours in
this book merely serve to decorate and entertain--to delight the audience.
The choice of graphics, specifically illustrations over photographs
is appropriate for the subject. One would not likely want his or her
child to see photographs of naked people or the detailed anatomy of
the human body.
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