Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's Just My Imagination, Running Wild and Too Fast

I am a big fan of imaginative play for children, and I love to see it reflected in books for children. There is something fun and perfectly evocative of childhood to these titles about imagining games that just makes me smile.

The Couch Was A Castle, by Ruth Ohi

This is a recent favourite in the House of 'Pie. Each page shows a pair imagining a new scenario on the couch, with a small image of the reality and a larger contrasting image of the imaginary version. Great fun.

Toby, What Are You?, by William Steig, ill. Teryl Euvremer

William Steig is a great storyteller, but as it turns out, he also has a silly streak and completely understands the joy of imagining goofy things. In this book, Toby is pretending to be different things, and has his parents guessing. Sometimes they are right, sometimes not, but they have a fun running game right up until he is a cowboy and rides his horse to bed. (I also enjoy Steig's book Pete's a Pizza, in which Pete's parents pretend to make him into a pizza to cheer him up. Comes complete with tickles and silly jokes served deadpan.)

Imagine You Are a Dolphin, by Karen Wallace, ill. Mike Bostock

This book and its companion, Imagine You Are A Crocodile, are not so much books about games of imagination as they are jumping-off-points for such games. Beautiful, informative, and begging for children to run with the imagining they suggest. I could really see a child plunging into the land of make-believe armed with this good window into the lives of either animal.

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

The quintessential book about a child's imaginings, in which Max is sent to bed without any supper, imagines himself sailing far away, in and out of nights and days, until he reaches a land where he becomes the beloved king and has the wildest rumpus he could ever desire before finally returning to his home, where his dinner is waiting for him - and it was still hot. Wild, fantastical, and eminently quotable, this gem is a classic for a reason.

Find these and other books of the wild and wonderful at your local library!

Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.

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