Imagination in Picture Books


Imagination is such a great skill for kids to practice. When kids are imagining themselves as different people, in different situations, or anything else, this is not just frivolous play. It is higher level thinking that is quintessentially human and encourages creativity, empathy, and other positive attributes.

Here are a few newer picture book titles that features characters using their imagination.

be-glad-your-dadBe Glad Your Dad…(Is Not an Octopus!) by Matt Logelin , Sara Jensen, and Jared Chapman (ill.). 9780316254380. 2016. Gr PS-1.

As a dad, sure, I get grouchy and probably sound bossy to my kids.  They have probably imagined me as some kind of wild animal on occasion. This title explores that concept, as the kids in the book imagine their Dad as a variety of animals. In their imagination, he becomes, among other animals, a monkey, and alligator, an octopus, and even a dung beetle!  The kids realize that a monkey might make them eat bugs, the alligator would have too many sharp teeth, etc.

In the end, they come to appreciate their regular old Dad, even if he is occasionally grouchy (and tells really bad “Dad jokes”). This book is a fun way for kids to use their imagination.

superhero-instruction-manualSuperhero Instruction Manual by Kristi Dempsey and Mark Fearing (ill.). 9780385755351. 2016. Gr K-3.

Many children use their imagination to pretend to be a superhero. The protagonist in this story wants to do so, but he needs some help. Using the Superhero Instruction Manual that has “Seven Easy Steps!”, he comes up with a superhero name and  concocts a disguise. But when it is time to choose a sidekick, even though he has a willing and ready volunteer in his little sister, he chooses his dog.  He doesn’t anticipate this being a poor decision, but when his dog causes chaos in the park, it gives his sister the opportunity to save the day.

are-we-there-yetAre We There Yet? By Dan Santat. 9780316199995. 2016. PS-3.

Long road trips are a good time to let your mind wander, although they can feel never-ending, especially if you are a kid stuck in the backseat. Time can seem to slow way down, and in this case, it kicks the boy’s imagination into overdrive. So much so that time seems to flow backwards for him, and he finds himself immersed in scenes with pirates, Wild West train robbers, and even dinosaurs.

What is unique about this title is that it is designed in a way that requires readers to physically flip the book over and follow the text as it changes direction. This is a very imaginative design for a book about an overactive imagination!

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