I have a review of Mo Willems children’s books up on Culture 11 in which I compare his use of motion to that of today’s comic strips. Here’s the obligatory sample paragraph:
Though Willems simple character outlines and neutral backgrounds are obviously derived from animation, the grainy quality of his chalky lines and their inherent feeling of dashed-off imperfection gives the drawings a tactile oomph. That sense of contained movement on a static surface, of personality within the line, is one of the great joys of comic-strip cartooning, and Willems’ mastery of it is, I think, part of the reason his books have been so popular with both kids and parents. For instance, in the Elephant & Piggie book, Today I Will Fly!, Piggie is determined to get herself airborne. Willems illustrates her hapless hopping with energetic thick dotted lines, which trace her tergiversations from right to left across the layout, then back from left to right on the next page — and ultimately, through a short hop and uuuuuuup in a flying leap onto poor Gerald’s much-colonized head. Those dashes are, literally, a physical delight: my son likes nothing more than to trace every single one of them with his finger. If I forget and turn the page before he gets a chance to do so, I’ve got something very like a pigeon tantrum on my hands.