Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: The World of Imagination

I am in the middle of a very busy week, with a book fair and a test to study for, so this will be a short post.  I was thinking today though about some of the places we can travel in this world we call earth.  There is one place though that we can travel to without ever leaving home and that is the world of our imagination.  This place is a lot cheaper than any other place on the planet or off.  I confess to spending many happy hours visiting different places in my daydreams, mostly real kinds of places, but when I open a great fantasy or fiction novel I can end up almost anywhere.  Nonfiction can also transport me to different places and times, places I can not go in the real world.  So today I have a couple of picture books to share that demonstrate the joys of using our imagination to go places. 

 by Stephen Gammall
Carolrhoda Books, 2011
ISBN: 9780761357902
Grades PreK-2
Reviewed from copy received from publisher through NetGalley.

The first book is called Mudkin by Stephen Gammall. In this book a young girl goes outside after a rainstorm and has a delightful time playing in the mud.  She imagines a creature formed from the mud called Mudkin.  He asks her, in his own mud language which consists of brown smudges, to be the queen of his mud kingdom.  She imagines receiving a mud robe and crown and riding to see her subjects in a mud carriage.  It all washes away when it begins to rain again.  I love the idea behind the book, the idea that our imaginations can take us anywhere and the illustrations are certainly bright and colorful, which I like in a picture book.  But I guess my adult instincts are to strong, all the mud kind of makes me wince.  Although I do have to laugh when I remember playing in mud with my siblings.  Also, the pictures are too messy for my taste and the few words there are in the book could be confusing for children without explanation.  All in all though, Gammall gives the reader an ode to the power of imagination to make even the simplest thing into something grand.

by Ross Collins
Albert Whitman & Company, 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-8075-1683-6
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

I found this book to be delightful tribute to the world of imagining.  Harvey's mother warns him before she leaves for the store that he mustn't do any doodling while she is gone, because it is Doodleday.  Harvey does not understand why this is the case so he picks up his colored pencils and starts doodling, first a fly that to his shock raids the refrigerator. Harvey quickly draws a spider to get rid of the fly, unfortunately the spider is more interested in his father. To get rid of the spider, he draws a bird, which proceeds to rip out their fence.  I'll let you discover the last creature he draws in his desperate bid to fix the devastation being wrought. Hint: look closer at the cover.  Finally, he gets help from the only creature tougher than any drawing: MOTHER.

I love the humor of this book, any child can relate to getting themselves into situations that require help to get out of.  The book is a fun reminder that while visiting other places is great and fun and intriguing, sometimes there is not better place to be than home.  The use of what I assume is crayon to contrast the drawings with the rest of the illustration is inspired fun, perfect for reading curled up in bed or as a read aloud with a class full of children.  Sure to be a hit.

Now it's time to be off to the place where I do a lot of my imaging, the world of sleep.  Enjoy!

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