”Och med granskogen följer mörker” Natursyn i två barnlitterära bilderböcker av Lars Lerin
”And with the Spruce Forest Comes Darkness” Attitudes to Nature in Two Children’s Picture Books by Lars Lerin
This thesis examines which attitudes towards nature can be found in two contemporary children’s picture books by Swedish artist and author Lars Lerin. The questions posed further concern whether there are visible differences between the attitudes in the two books and whether there is a didactic attempt to influence the reader in a certain direction. The analysed material consists of "Trollet är inte hemma" and "Elsa i Skräddartorp och hennes 28 katter" published 2019 and 2020 respectively. The theoretical framework of the examination is ecocritical and intermedial, and methodologically the analysis draws upon a tool called the Nature in Culture Matrix. This tool consists of a coordinate system containing a y-axis with the two poles ”Celebrating nature” and ”Problematizing nature” and an x-axis with the two poles ”Anthropocentric horizon” and ”Ecocentric horizon”. By employing the intermedial concept iconotext along with ecocritial terminology, the analysis aims to map the attitudes towards nature present in the two picture books in relation to the matrix’s axes. The result shows that both books contain a weak ecocentric leaning on the matrix’s x-axis and that both seem to influence the reader in an ecocentric direction. The two books do however differ significantly with regards to the matrix’s y-axis. While "Trollet är inte hemma" presents a celebratory view of nature, where nature is safe, idyllic and lacks problematizing elements, "Elsa i Skräddartorp och hennes 28 katter" presents a highly problematizing view of nature. This problematizing view comes into being partly by nature being presented as something potentially frigthening and dangerous, partly by a representation of nature that highlights the complexity of human-nature relationships in a depopulated countryside marked by the presence of industrial forestry practices.