Tag Archives: imagination

Flashlight Night










Flashlight Night
by Matt Forrest Esenwine, illustrated by Fred Koehler
Boyds Mills Press, 2017

A story for those who dare to adventure. The words, done in rhyme, set up the ‘scare’ and the illustrations keep readers turning the pages to see what is next, imagining what it might be like for them.

In this story, a brother, sister and their little brother are outside in their treehouse at night. The older brother uses the light to make everything appear scarier, leaving the rest to the others’ imaginations. The flashlight,

“leads you past old post and rail
alongside a long-forgotten trail
into woods no others dare,
for fear of what is waiting there.”

This story’s action takes place outside the treehouse.  Illustrations show what could be in the shadows, like tigers.  They explore water, underbrush, walls and halls where wolves and lions and skulls and bones might lurk. They travel to foreign shores, where pirates and octopi threaten the trio.

After the scary stories are shared, we see the trio in the tree house and it’s lights out.  In the shadows we see the little brother smiling and the tiger below preparing itself for another adventure. While the story threatens danger, the characters are always safe.

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Down Here











Down Here
by Valerie Sherrard, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2015

Jamie can build anything, but while his brother and sister get compliments for their talents, Jamie only gets, “Look at this mess.”  Inside Jamie’s latest creation he rockets to the moon, builds a tricky maze no one can enter and invites his dragon to roast marshmallows, but his mother calls it, “Chaos!  Pandemonium!”  Jamie climbs a table to see what his mother sees and realizes from up high it really is a mess.  Then he gets an idea and invites her “Down here” to see what he sees.  Reluctantly she bends over and looks, then sits down as her eyes get bigger and bigger.  What does she see?  Jamie, a creative hero, figures out himself how to change his world to get the outcome he craves.  An empowering tale for young, creative spirits.

Illustrator Isabelle Malenfant mixes mediums to create a poetic and sensitive portrayal of Jamie’s world.

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Little Big













Little Big
By Jonathan Bentley
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Jonathan Bentley’s illustrations pulled me into the book, and I was delighted.  A toddler boy knows he’s little when he sees his older brother.  When he tries to be big, it never works.  He thinks of all kinds of things he could do with his brother, if he were only big.  But he soon realizes what life would be like if he didn’t have his big brother to tell him funny stories after dinner, among other things.  Carefully selected words and watercolor/ink illustrations show how being little is perfectly fine, after all.

A story that celebrates imagination, “what if I were bigger”, and accepts that the world is perfect just the way it is.  An endearing, playful story told with both words and illustrations that tell their own story.

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The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend

The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend
Dan Santat
Little, Brown and Company, 2014
Caldecott Medal Winner

He was born on an island far away where imaginary friends were created.  Here, they lived and played, each eagerly waiting to be imagined by a real child.”  How creative!  These opening lines of Beekle open wide a child’s imagination of what could be.

But alas, after waiting and waiting, no one imagines Beekle.  Beekle, ready to find his child, does the unimaginable—he journeys to the real world!  Things are indeed strange in the real world, but he soon finds a place where other imaginary friends visit and feels comfortable.  But still, no one takes him as an imaginary friend.  He sits at the top of an autumn tree, until a little girl calls out to him; the wind blew her drawing into the tree.  Beekle returns the picture to the little girl—and there in her picture was Beekle!  Very shy at first, they get to know each other, until one day they do the unimaginable….

Extraordinarily wonderful!  I love how this books opens one’s imagination.  Beautifully rendered in pencil, crayon, watercolor, ink and Adobe Photoshop, with hand-lettered text.

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