ee cummings: Poet and Creative Thinker


enormous SMALLNESS: A story of E.E. Cummings ”

Visually entertaining and poetically written, this book honors poet ee cummings and his writing spirit. Cummings so loved lowercase letters that he wrote his name as ee cummings. Nature inspired his passion for writing. A rule breaker of rhythm and rhyme as well as a new word inventor, ee cummings was a creative thinker.

This story promotes the creative traits of a creative person – taking risks, passionate, imaginative, different perspective, and the desire to be creative.

TITLE: enormous SMALLNESS: A story of E.E. Cummings

AUTHOR: Matthew Burgess


PUBLISHER: Enchanted Lion Books, 2015


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative traits of a creative person – taking risks, passionate, imaginative, different perspective, desire to be creative


1) Author Matthew Burgess wrote that E.E. Cummings “drew many pictures from great circus of his imagination.” Cummings displayed many creative traits of a creative thinker. (see creative components) What creativity traits do you have? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how important is your creativity to you? How do you express your creativity?

2) For his 15th birthday, E.E. Cummings received The Rhymester, a guide to writing poems, which became one of his prized possessions. What is one of your prized possessions and why?


To learn more about author Matthew Burgess, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Kris DiGiacomo, visit:

To learn more about E.E. Cummings, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: A 40 Fruit Tree


an artist rending of the 40 fruit tree

Creative Thinking Prompt: If you could grow forty anythings on a tree, what would you grow? How would you grow it? What is the purpose of your tree?

Sam Van Aken, a Syracuse art professor, started an art project using a living tree that became a research project and a form of conservation to preserve ancient fruits from around the world. His 40 fruit tree, “an entire orchard in one,” is a single tree, which produces forty different varieties of stone fruit. Stone fruit such nectarines, cherries, plums, and peaches have pits. Although grafting, which is a two to three year process, is a common practice for growers, this 40 fruit tree may be the only one of its kind.


One Day, The End


One Day, The End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-than-Ever Stories ”

“One day I went school, I came home. The End.” What happened to the middle of the story?


Through out the book, the illustrations provide the short middle of each short story.

This story promotes storytelling and imagination.

TITLE: One Day, The End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-than-Ever Stories

AUTHOR: Rebecca Kai Dotlich


PUBLISHER: Boyds Mills Press, 2015


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: storytelling, imagination


1) Write the middle part of this story. “One day I made something. (insert middle) I gave it to my mom.”

2) Continue the Story. With a partner or a group, take turns telling a story. Each person tells a sentence to continue the story. Variations are each person says one word or pairs a noun and verb to tell the story.


To learn more about author Rebecca Kai Dotlich, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Fred Koehler, visit:



Froodle ”

All year long, the crow caws, the pigeon coos, the cardinal chips and the little brown bird peeps.


One day the little brown bird sang, “Froodle-oodle.” “Little brown birds say peep!” the crow reprimanded. Little brown bird tried to peep, but singing silly words made him happy. And then, the silliness spread.


Dove and Cardinal sang, “Ickle, Zickle” and “Oobly, Snoobly.” Will Crow be able to join in the fun?

This story promotes individuality, creative-expression, originality, and imagination.

TITLE: Froodle

AUTHOR: Antionette Portis

ILLUSTRATOR: Antionette Portis

PUBLISHER: Roaring Brook Press, 2014


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: individuality, creative expression, originality, imagination


1) What might a lobster say? Pick an ending of a word that you like the sound of. Invent two two-syllable words and one four syllable word using the same ending so that all the words rhyme. For example, what might a seal say? Blorppy, Snorppy, Loopagorpy!

2) Make a list of all the silly things that you do. From your list, what is something silly that you do that perhaps no one else does?


To learn more about author/illustrator Antionette Portis, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Caterpillar Inspired Invention


Creative Thinking Prompt: Caterpillar Inspired Robot


Curling softly, leaping, flipping

Self-propelling forward zipping

Wheeling wingless, Rolling limbless

Creepy-crawly somersaulty


Sparks idea – Insect robot

Search and rescue find the X-spot

Wheeling, flipping, rolling, zipping,

Creepy-crawly somersaulty


© Ann Kelley 2016

When I was researching the subject of caterpillars to write this poem, I came across the Crambidae rolling caterpillar family which inspired the movement for a search and rescue robot.

To learn more about this robot, visit:;

To see the caterpillar and robot in action, visit the Youtube video links.



THINK DEEPER: What other insects have inspired inventions? Observe an insect in its natural habitat. Sketch the insect. What trait or behavior of the insect lends itself to an invention? Sketch an idea for an invention incorporating the insect trait/behavior.

PHOTO from and courtesy of Huai-Ti Lin




WARNING: This book turns into a robot.

A boy wants badly to be a robot. He looks like a robot. He acts like a robot. But he is not a robot. One day he invents a special sauce called Robo-Sauce.


After he transforms into a robot, he activates the Robo-Sauce Launcher turning everything (even his dog) into robots.


What happens when his entire life turns robotic?

This story promotes creativity and originality.

TITLE: Robo-Sauce

AUTHOR: Adam Rubin

ILLUSTRATOR: Daniel Salmieri

PUBLISHER: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, originality


1) This book serves as two purposes – a book and a robot. What dual purpose can a doorknob serve? Each purpose can either be real or imaginary. An example: A basketball net is a net to catch basketballs and when cut, it can become a fishing net draped between two poles.


2) Invent your own special sauce. What will your sauce transform you into? What special ingredients do you need? Use real and imaginary ones to create your sauce. Don’t forget to include the directions on how to make your sauce and how to use your sauce. Have fun!


To learn more about author Adam Rubin, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Daniel Salmieri, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: An Upside-Down House


Creative Thinking Prompt:  An Upside-Down House

Imagine living in a house that was built upside-down. How would you move from room to room? Where would your bed be placed in your bedroom? Would chairs and tables float on ceilings?

Visit this link to see more of this Upside-Down House located in Siberia:

What would the world be like if the Earth flipped upside down -the North Pole would be in the South Pole and the South Pole would be in the North Pole?

What would it be like if humans were upside down – we walked on our hands and our feet swung in the air?

What would it be like if houses and buildings had their ceiling as floors and the floors were the ceiling?

What if it rained upside-down?

Think Deeper: What else can you think of that can be turned upside-down? How could you use those upside-down items?

Making Origami Science Experiments


Use origami (paper folding) to perform scientific experiments and test hypotheses. From a dish soap racing boat to a table kite to a fan, readers practice origami folds to test science concepts such as surface tension, water molecules, air resistance, gravity and mass.


This story promotes creative problem solving, wonder, discovery and combination.

TITLE: Making Origami Science Experiments Step by Step

AUTHOR: Michael G. LaFosse

ILLUSTRATOR: Michael G. LaFosse

PUBLISHER: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2004


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative problem solving, wonder, discovery, combination.


1) A hypothesis is a guess. Develop a hypothesis that you’d like to test. Then design an experiment to prove or disprove your hypothesis. After you’ve completed your experiment, what new questions do you have? Will you create a new hypothesis?

2) Fold a piece of paper. Smaller and smaller… How many times can you fold the paper? Could this folding go on indefinitely or will it stop?

3) To create origami art, visit this link:


To learn more about author/illustrator Michael G. LaFosse, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: A World Inside A Tree

Creative Thinking Prompt: A World Inside A Tree


Draw a world that exists inside a tree. Imagine what that world would look like. What type of tree does your world exist in? Who lives there? What do they do? What do they look like? How do they co-exist with themselves and the tree? What would happen if they left the tree to explore? Sketch out this tree world. Name your world and its inhabitants.

Harold’s Circus

Harold's Circusbookcover

“Harold’s Circus”

Harold and his purple crayon are back with a new adventure – the circus. Come along as Harold performs circus acts from bravest lion tamer to trapeze artist to tightrope walker to human cannonball.


Oops! What will Harold draw to save himself as he tumbles through air?

This story promotes creativity, imagination, discovery and humor.

TITLE: Harold’s Circus

AUTHOR: Crockett Johnson

ILLUSTRATOR: Crockett Johnson

PUBLISHER: Harper Collins Publishers 1987, 1959


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, imagination


1) What do you think would happen to the story if Harold used a color other than purple? Whey do you think Crockett Johnson chose to use a purple crayon?

2) If you were a circus performer, which act would you perform and why?

3) Spend some time researching different circus acts. What is it about these acts that draw an audience’s attention? Invent a new circus act.


To learn more about author/illustrator Crockett Johnson, visit: