Posts Tagged ‘Imagination’

If I had an elephant

By Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones

Illustrated by Richard Fairgray

Colouring by Tara Black

ISBN 9781775434764

Scholastic NZ

Fun, imaginative and just the way childhood play should be. This talented partnership of writers and illustrator have again brought us another fun-filled humorous picture book. 

Young Henry begins the day by wishing he had an elephant and then takes us with him as he considers the awesome time they would have together. We journey through time and space and meet wonderful characters such as the “four-eyed, two-horned, big-tusked Grumblepuff”.  Having an elephant by your side leads to all sorts of adventures which will in turn spark young reader’s own imaginations. Everyone needs the friendship and support of a best friend and here in this truly imaginative story, elephant is this young boy’s best friend, or at least he would be if he only had an elephant. 

If I had an elephant for a best friend, there’d be no stopping us! We’d get matching jackets. We’d build a time machine together. We’d have OUT OF THIS WORLD adventures …

IF I had an elephant.

 

The impossible boy

By Leonie Agnew

ISBN 9780143309062

Penguin Random House, New Zealand

 

boy

 

This is one of those books that draws you in, keeps you going and makes you believe in the impossible.

                          Vincent Gum finds six-year-old Benjamin moments after an explosion and leads him through wrecked city streets to the children’s shelter. Vincent isn’t interested in hanging around to babysit, but by the time they arrive he knows that Ben, with his crazy ideas and weird imaginary games, won’t survive ten minutes there without someone to look out for him. For one thing, something sinister lurks in the dormitory cupboard, waiting to get out.

Vincent’s tough and smart. He can walk through walls and make a dead tree flower. But to the rest of the world he’s invisible — non-existent. That’s because, in his moment of need, Ben invented him.

At the children’s shelter Ben is mixed in with other children and orphans. Some accept him straight away but a few suspect he may be a little crazy, especially when he keeps talking to his invisible friend Vincent. While the children struggle with Ben and Vincent’s antics,  I found myself totally believing in him. In fact, by the time I had finished this delightful, creative and imaginative book, I was feeling very motherly and proud of young Vincent and what he had to overcome in order to protect Ben and his companions.

I think we all need a Vincent in our lives.

I do suspect this will find itself on award lists. This is a top-notch book, wonderfully written, with intriguing, believable and lovable characters. With war always in the background of everything the children see and do, this work of fiction offers much more to think about than just an imaginary friend.

I do think this would be an ideal read-aloud and perfect for book clubs.

If I was a banana

By Alexandra Tylee

Illustrated by Kieran Ryanhart

ISBN 9781776570331

Gecko Press

 

if-i-was-a-banana_cover_med

 

This boy’s-eye-view of the everyday brings alive all the wonder and oddity of the world inside our own heads.

What stands out straight away for me are the wonderful earthy colours of the illustrations. Even in a world of fantasy and make-believe, the earthy colours give the story a grounding and make it seem real and possible to be whatever you want to be.

A young boy follows thought after thought, idea after idea in to a world where he can imagine being anything. He considers everything from a lone cow standing in a field, to a fish or a whale, even to a spoon. Anything is possible.

He considers each option carefully before going on to the next random thought before realising of course, that the best thing to be is to just be himself. A great book to read and imagine together.

I also think it would be ideal as story writing prompts for teachers to use in a class of young readers and writers. Children could have fun imagining being all sorts of things and perhaps writing a reasoned report on the pros and cons of being something else.

Do take the time to carefully look at the last double page at the end of the book. The backdrop holds many hidden animals and objects. See if you can spot them all.

The author has captured what adults might consider as the complete randomness of a young boy’s thoughts although totally connected thoughts if you are a young boy yourself. Lovely.

 

The only child

By Guojing

ISBN 9780553497045

 

only child

This is an absolutely beautiful book. I have had it for awhile and just keep dipping in to it again and again to marvel at the illustrations. It has been said it is a mixture of Shaun Tan’s Arrival and Raymond Briggs The Snowman, and I completely agree. What they all have in common is the wordless story with wonderful illustrations that put them in a league of their own as far as picture books are concerned. This is a wonderful example of imagination and adventure and lovely emotional connection to the “only child”. An only child is left alone while her mother goes to work. After playing on her own for awhile she decides to take a trip to visit her grandmother. However, soon after leaving the safety of her home, she ends up lost and alone. We can feel her growing sense of loneliness. Her sense of wonder and awe when a stag takes her flying through the sky, is palpable. The dark tones, the mood and atmosphere of this picture book ring true even in a world of imagination. Love, love, love this book to bits.

This truly is a beautiful book to treasure. I can’t wait to see more from this very talented artist.

Journey
by Aaron Becker

Journey is a beautifully illustrated wordless picture book. Its wonderful sepia tones capture the heart and imagination of a young girl who is bored. No-one in her family wants to play, they are all too busy. The young girl takes a crayon and begins drawing, opening up a world of imagined places. I love how the colours start to play together as her imagination takes over.
This really is a journey into strange worlds; even a little steampunkish with airships floating across the skies. We travel along with the young girl as she takes us to faraway places and even danger. The trailer is gorgeous. There is lots to look at and lots to discuss with this book on so many levels. Any child reading, will no doubt add to the story of the little girl and her journey across the world of imagination.
I bought this for the school library but will end up getting my own copy too. It really is a book to treasure and dip into again and again.

What if…?
By Anthony Browne

Antony Browne is another of my favourite illustrators so I had no hesitation buying his latest book for school.
Some of us have been reading it again and again this Monday lunch time. Every time we do, we find something new in the pictures. Browne deliberately plays with the reader throwing in pictures within pictures and adding strange things and ideas. My student librarian pointed out, for example, that the elderly man’s cup of tea was actually floating. I’d missed that on my first reading.
In What if…? Joe makes lots of excuses for not going to a party. “What if he doesn’t like the food, or the games, or the people?”
Many children struggle to make new friends and I think this will be a great book to read to those children and open up discussion.
This is a great picture book for children who worry, which seems to be a theme in many of Browne’s books and one he does well.

And here is Anthony Browne talking about his book.