One person sees a vase, another sees two black

faces looking at each other. Another image: Is

it a fashionable young lady or an old woman?

In classic figure / ground visual perception

experiments, viewers’ ‘perceptual sets’ and

their personal interests, including emphasising

some shapes and contours, may strengthen one

‘interpretation’ more than the other, according to


The article critiquing my Bedtime stories,

published in a recent issue of Teach journal of

Christian education,2 appears to focus on only one

interpretation, an imbalance that I believe needs

addressing. I acknowledge the critique’s generosity

(however muted) regarding certain aspects of the

Bedtime stories series and take note of some of

the perceived weaknesses in my children’s texts.

Notwithstanding that Nicholls and Reynaud write

from the vantage point of the 21st century and with

hindsight, there is merit in scrutinising the validity of

some of their arguments. Before embarking on this

task, however, it seems instructive to provide some

general context through reflecting and personal


Included in

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