Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Illustration

The Magic of Nursery Rhymes – Learn to Dance by the Light of the Moon

Image result for vintage hey diddle diddle

No doubt, the cow that jumped over the moon has inspired many a poet, artist, illustrator, and just plain visionary and/or liver of life. Because it is so very common, we might tend to overlook the importance of a simple rhyme like Hey, Diddle, Diddle, but allow me to remind you how very, very important simple nursery rhymes actually are:

Hey, diddle, diddle,

Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Hey Diddle Diddle | Hey Diddle Diddle" nursery rhyme drawing:

Consider all of the fantastic things going on in those few lines. A pet animal has become so very real that he can play a musical instrument, and not only that, he is playing a song that makes folks want to dance. Life is being lived at the max: it is over the moon–heavenly–and common household items have become human. They have gotten married, and have run away for a life of bliss.

Life just does not get any better than what is described in Hey Diddle Diddle. I have spent my entire life, trying to get over that cow’s moon. Haven’t you?

Let’s give the cat, the fiddle, the cow, and the moon credit: They taught us how to dream.

I grew up reciting nursery rhymes, and I am quite sure that today, I still have a nursery-rhyme-mind. I think in cadences, and invariably, when I write a picture book manuscript, I do so in rhyme. The magic of childhood has been captured in nursery rhymes and by wonderful illustrators like Clara M. Burd who died 17 years before I was born in 1950.

I grew up chanting about Mistress Mary and her garden filled with cockle shells and cowslips all in a row, and to this day, I slave in my garden, trying to create a fairy tale escape for myself.

Jacki Kellum Garden Read Why Everyone Needs A Secret Garden Here at jackikellum.com

I grew up believing that Daddy had gone a hunting for a bunting to wrap me up and protect me in, and perhaps there is something wrong with that kind of fantasy, but I seriously doubt it. I believe that children need to be wrapped and swaddled and cuddled and protected. I believe that they need to learn to find magic and wonder while they can.

[Love Life and Life Will Love You Back by Margaret Tarrant who was still illustrating when I was born in 1950.]

I believe that children need to learn to love life. Certainly, as a child matures, life will find ways to come around and turn all of that magic on its head, but I believe that the child grounded in the wonder-world of nursery rhymes will have an arsenal to fight the evil that will surely come his way.

Image result for vintage humpty dumpty

Even as a child, I realized that things could go wrong. After all, Humpty Dumpty fell from his wall. A bit of reality is not bad, but I see no reason to turn children into cynics. As they become adults, they will have plenty of disappointment and set-backs. Eventually, fighting cynicism becomes difficult for most of us. Childhood is a time for picking rosebuds and for filling one’s well with optimism. It is a time for banking happiness and a time for preparing and for establishing attitudes that will hopefully carry us through the hard task of living.

Owl & Pussy-cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note. …

They took some honey, and plenty of money—what more could anyone want? Honey and money–the sweet stuff of life and PLENTY of money–enough money to pay the bills: that is more than enough for me, and that has become my mantra–Please, God, continue to provide me with what has become enough for me, and help me to Dance by the Light of Your Moon.

“Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

From Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear

They danced by the light of the moon– That is what I want to do. I want to Dance by the Light of the Moon, and because of God’s grace, I do.


On Silver Sheets, I Sail
by Jacki Kellum

Just before I open my eyes
I float along the misty skies.

I reach, I feel the soft, white hair
and fairy wings that flutter there.

I listen, I hear the slumber song,
The angel band that plays along

My dreams are in my pillow-pail.
On silver sheets, I sail.

©Jacki Kellum  July 4, 2017

©Jacki Kellum August 1, 2017


The Importance of Visual Images and Illustrations in Books, Marketing, Social Media, and Other Communication

A couple of years ago, I began researching the importance of visual images in communication. A report in 2015 said:

“…marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results.”

“Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.”

“70% of marketers plan to increase their use of original visual assets in 2015”

“Over the last 12 months almost every major social network, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have increased the prominence and importance of visual content. Keeping pace with this trend, several research studies conducted over the course of 2014 point to the rather amazing effectiveness of visual content for social media.” http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy

Conclusions of a 2017 report indicate that opinions about the importance of visual images in marketing has continued to find favor Here

General Visual Content Statistics

2) 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%).  (Source)

3) When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.  (Source)

The Uncle Sam poster [above] is probably one of the best marketing efforts of all time, and the visual images and colors on that poster are what caused its success. The image of Uncle Sam is what catches your eye and draws the viewer in. I have an experiment for you. How impressed are you with the following comment:

I Want You

I dare to say that the previous sentence is not very impressive to most people.

Let’s try it again. Let’s try it in bold:

I Want You

That is still fairly unimpressive. Let’s try the words as a quote:

I Want You

Well, at least I see the words now. The words are separated from the rest of the text. Let’s try bolding the words and then putting them in a quote

I Want You 

Now, let’s see how much better the impact becomes with the addition of color and the increasing of the font size:


With every added action on the words, we make them more noticeable, but nothing that we do to the words alone will make the same impact as the poster does once the image of Uncle Sam is added.

Dr. Lynell Burmark said the following about the importance of images:

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D. Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development and writer of several books and papers on visual literacy, said, “…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear.”

Whoever controls the media—the images—controls the culture. – Alan Ginsberg

Considering that Alan  Ginsberg was a poet and an author and not a photographer or visual artist, this admission from him speaks volumes. 

The Uncle Sam poster was released in 1916, and its purpose was to motivate Americans to support the war effort. That poster is still powerful today–100 years later–and its importance does not lie in the words that it provides. The power lies within the image.

I have completed graduate work in several areas. Because I was essentially paid to get my MA in English, I earned that master’s degree first. As I sat before the graduate committee to earn my second master’s degree in visual art, a professor said to me, “You already have one master’s degree, why do you want another?”

My quick and simple reply was [and still is]: “Because A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words.”

Image result for songs of innocence publication date

I penned my first master’s thesis about William Blake who both wrote and illustrated his writing almost 250 years ago, and I am committed to my belief that images energize and draw interest to the written word. William Blake was not a marketer. He was a writer, and yet he realized the value of visual images in communicating through his writing.

Most of the people who read this post will be bloggers, and I heartily recommend the use of visual images in blogging, but I am also convinced of the importance of visual images in novels and other books. In my opinion, pictures are the best way to bring your words to life. Because of the hurried pace of life in the 21st Century, many people will never approach your writing at all–unless your writing is enhanced by images.

©Jacki Kellum July 22, 2017


© 2017 Jacki Kellum

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