What I like about this piece is that, once you get your head around it, you realise that it isn’t a parody at all but an interpretation.
I can just about remember what it felt like to look at one of the Key Word Readers, as a young child. You had the excitement and anticipation of moving on to a new book. The pictures were so vivid and the characters familiar. You felt that they had to contain something more vivid and absorbing than the stolid text suggested. There MUST be more going on, and if you looked at the picture for long enough you would see the hidden subtext. Perhaps Jane had actually had a row with Peter that morning and was sulking. Peter was planning to hide Daddy’s hammer and Jane was considering whether to tell on him. What was the Policeman REALLy looking for? …
The richness of the pictures in contrast with the key word-driven text seemed to insist that there HAD to be more to the scenario.
This contrast between the magical anarchy of a child’s imagination and humdrum daily reality, for me, is what Jon Bentley has captured in his artwork. Here it is:
What do you think?