Posted tagged ‘Imagination’

Let There Be Light

January 25, 2018

When we moved to a new state and a new home in a new housing development, everything was … new. Meeting our neighbors helped us feel more comfortable in our surroundings, and as we cultivated new friends, smiles lit up our faces.

Sometimes you find neighbors don’t always agree with everything happening in a community, but when the developer of our neighborhood put a new “street light” at the entrance to our development, we all came together. The decision was unanimous. The light must go.

It’s wasn’t a street light. It was a  light pole that belonged in front of someone’s house to light up a driveway or walkway. If you blinked, you’d miss the tiny glow it cast. I kiddingly said, “Maybe the snowplow will take care of it for us.”

It did.

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As of now, the light post lies face down in a puddle of slush. It’s a sad ending to the tale of the little light that didn’t shine brightly enough. The homeowners are in the process of replacing the light with a genuine street light that has a luminosity that will guide all those who enter our community.

Speaking of light …

Here are two sparkling books that will throw light on the subject of light.

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The Way Home in the Night written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi, Kids Can Press, 2017

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Windows  is written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale, Candlewick, 2017

Both of these books take place in the evening when lights illuminate the inside of neighborhood homes and businesses. Those looking in from the outside can catch a glimpse of what is happening on the inside. These slice of life images inspire curiosity, imagination, and a safe feeling of home and community. I especially love the lyrical language in The Way Home in the Night. The charming illustrations and text in both of these books make them a must read. And once you do,  I know you’ll agree with me.

Now, if you’re in the dark like we were this week because of a power outage, you might like this book.

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Blackout is written and illustrated by John Rocco, Disney-Hyperion, 2011

When the lights go out, what’s a family to do? With the electronics down and out, a family learns how to reconnect with one another. Appealing text and illustrations show how family time can turn into quality time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books + Imagination = A Great Adventure

January 11, 2018

One flashlight. Three kids. An adventure in the making.

Author, Matt Forrest Esenwine, and illustrator, Fred Koehler team up to create an imaginative adventure that begs the reader to keep turning the pages.

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Flashlight Night, written in rhyme, begins with three children sitting in a tree house filled with books. When the older boy turns on the flashlight, the night comes alive, and so do their imaginations. The children embark on a grand backyard adventure following the path of the light. Each page turn brings the children into a new adventure. A kitten becomes a tiger, the underneath of a deck reveals an Egyptian tomb, a pool becomes an ocean with a pirate and a ship, sailing through rough waters where a sea monster suddenly appears. A stuffed teddy becomes an enormous bear that helps save the three adventurers and lets them return safely to their tree house. Keep a close eye on Fred Koehler’s illustrations done in pencil and digitally colored. They cleverly reveal what classic books motivate the children’s adventure.

What light shines on your imagination?

A Gift of Imagination

December 7, 2017

If someone asks me what I want for Christmas, I’d say a green umbrella. Why?  Because it’s much more than an ordinary umbrella. It’s an object that tickles your imagination and takes you on extraordinary adventures.

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The Green Umbrella is written by Jackie Azúa Kramer and illustrated by Maral Sassouni. On a rainy day, Elephant is taking a walk with his umbrella when he meets Hedgehog who insists Elephant has his boat and tells him of his boat adventures. When Elephant says Hedgehog is mistaken, Elephant offers to share his umbrella with Hedgehog. Along comes Cat who insists Elephant has his tent and tells of his tent adventures. Elephant says Cat is mistaken but offers to share his umbrella. The story continues as Elephant meets different animals who are convinced his umbrella is not really an umbrella but something else. In the end, despite their differences, they all become friends. Maral Sassouni’s illustrations are whimsical and rendered in soft pastels. The Green Umbrella is a delightful book of imagination, sharing, and friendship.

Get me that green umbrella!

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Mistake

October 12, 2017

What if no one ever made a mistake? That would be the biggest mistake of all. Throughout history, mistakes have led to great strides in making our world a better place.

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A perfectly delightful picture book written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken is The Book of Mistakes. The endpapers begin with a splat of ink and end with a charming surprise. Luyken begins her story with spare text and seemingly simplistic sketches rendered in black ink and surrounded by white space. The reader learns the artist has made a mistake. She corrects it by coming up with a good idea, but then there are more mistakes followed by more good ideas. With each page turn, colors seep into the illustrations. In the middle of the book, there are five wordless spreads in which the artist’s illustrations become more intricate and more colorful. At the end, Corinna Luyken poses the question, “Do you see—” which makes readers pause to think. The final illustrations and text give the reader a closer look into the creative mind of the author/artist who demonstrates how inspiration can change a simple mistake into something amazing.

Make no mistake. Grab hold of this book now!

 

 

 

 

Get Ready to Turn these Pages

September 14, 2017

 

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If you’re looking for a book to get your toddler/preschooler moving, take a look at Lucy Cousins’ picture book, Hooray for Birds. This book is filled with bold, bright colors and invites the child to imagine he/she is a bird and do what the birds do. The fast–paced rhymes begin with a “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” in the morning and continue throughout the day until it’s time to say good night. Don’t be surprised if your little one insists you read the book again and again, and you’ll oblige because this book is fun for everyone!

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Bird, Balloon, Bear written and illustrated by Il Sung Na is quite the opposite of Hooray for Birds. This is a gentle story about finding the courage to make a new friend. The text is spare and the illustrations in the book are muted and soft with a fun double page spread. What makes this book special is it lends itself to cuddling together as you turn the pages to reveal how a friendship blossoms.

These two books are looking for a space in your library.

 

DU IZ TAK?

December 1, 2016

If you have very young children, you know they have a language of their own – uhda, madee, ticka …  They know what they’re saying, but it’s up to us to figure it out. And that brings me to a picture book that fascinates me. When I first heard about this book, I was convinced it was written in a foreign language. When I finally got my hands on it, I was in for a big surprise!

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Du Iz Tak? is written and illustrated by Carson Ellis. The text is sparse, using “invented” words. With that in mind, Carson Ellis has masterfully crafted a fanciful story filled with creativity and imagination. Two damselflies discover a shoot growing out of the ground. Other insects investigate the growth. After some interesting discussion and the help of Icky the bug, they build a tree house in the growing shoot. Drama comes into play with the addition of a huge spider, a hungry, bird, and a blossoming flower. While all of this is taking place, a caterpillar has made its cocoon. At night, a violin-playing insect sits above the cocoon and plays to the night sky. This oversized picture book is one that needs time to absorb. Ellis’ illustrations are filled with the beauty and wonder of nature and what can happen when imagination blossoms. This circular story has a very satisfying ending and lends itself to close examination and discussion.

Another picture book with invented words and fun to read is Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis. See my comments here.

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Planting Season

May 26, 2016

In my part of the world, warm weather has taken the place of the extreme cold of winter and early spring. Jack Frost has packed his icy bags for a long vacation. Spring is here, and summer is not too far behind. It’s time for planting gardens!

Fresh vegetables are a boon to everyone’s health. Crunchy radishes, long green beans, juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce leaves – all this can be yours. A little plot of land or a few dirt-filled buckets will do. Get the family together and plant those seeds, nurture them, and watch them grow.

While you’re waiting for your veggie delight, here’s a great book to share.

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My Garden written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, Greenwillow books.

A little girl helps her mother in the garden as they water, weed, and chase rabbits away. But the little girl has her own ideas of what she would like in a garden. She imagines a weedless garden with flowers that change color and patterns, chocolate rabbits, a jelly bean bush, and all kinds of possibilities that only a child could dream up. Henkes’ text and colorful spring illustrations will make even the biggest skeptic a believer in garden possibilities. This is a perfect book to plant the seeds of creativity in your children.

If you choose a flower garden over a vegetable garden, here’s another great book.

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Planting a Rainbow written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Lois Ehlert’s colorful collages and simple text help children understand the step-by-step process of planting a flower garden. With special care, you’ll soon have a rainbow at your fingertips.

And one more …

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Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden written by Edith Pattou and illustrated by Tricia Tusa, Harcourt Children’s Books.

There are many different types of gardens. Mrs. Spitzer’s garden happens to be the students in her classroom. She knows just how to plant the seeds of knowledge in children to make them blossom. Young readers will love Tusa’s delightful illustrations and Mrs. Spitzer’s unusual gardening techniques.

 

 

 

 

 


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