For each of my kids I chose a book that would be their special book to keep and read often as they grow. Recently, when I was searching for a book for my newborn son, a friend showed me this. It took about two minutes to realise it was perfect…
Why is it so good?
I like the message in this book. The boy at its heart is a day dreamer in a world where daydreaming is not encouraged. In the early parts of the book we see everyone from the park keeper to the lollipop lady scold him for daydreaming or being a scatterbrain. He moves through a monochrome world wondering to himself about things like who makes the clouds and if the lollipop lady’s sign tastes as orange as it looks. We occasionally see glimpses of his imagination in this everyday world but they are quickly squashed by the grown ups. This goes on until he reaches his art class where he finds a blank piece of paper and the teacher tells him to ‘Just use your imagination’. And this sets him free and it seems Hanson herself is also set free as from this point on the illustrations are truly breathtaking. The kind you could study for hours and still find more and more imaginative detail. No description could begin to do them justice – you need to see them!
Hanson has dedicated this book to her mother for believing in her daydreams and the art teacher’s classroom has a quote written on the blackboard: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Picasso. Clearly this book is designed to inspire us to nurture our creative children (as well as the creative child inside ourself perhaps?). Would that we were all as successful as Hanson’s Mum who nurtured an imagination so stunningly rich and vivid.
A huge thumbs up from me.
And in the classroom?
As well as simply reminding us to see past the annoyance of a daydreamer to the creative soul beneath, this book is a gem for starting any imagination work. For example the text refers to the greatest playground in the world so for a start you could discuss, describe, draw, design or build that playground. How about a game of crazy questions with crazy answers? Students could name an imaginary location which their classmates draw or describe (the book has an illustration of where stars are made which might get the ball rolling).
Best of all though is the fact that, while these activities will touch on loads of the usual subjects, the imagination basis for them will really give an opportunity for the day dreamers to shine thereby achieving the goal of the book. Win win! 😊