“Beard In A Box”
In Beard In A Box written and illustrated by Bill Cotter, a young boy wants to be just like his dad. He determines that Dad gets his awesomeness from his beard.
He needs a beard, too.
He follows the 5 step program: picks a style, plants seeds, waters, does face exercises and then… Step 5: Wait 10-15 years. UGH!!
Then things get worse when his dad shaves off his beard. Double UGH!!
In the end, Dad shows his son how to be awesome.
This book promotes imagination, humor and creativity.
TITLE: Beard In A Box
AUTHOR: Bill Cotter
ILLUSTRATOR: Bill Cotter
PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016
AGE GROUP: 5-7
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, humor, imagination
1) Design a new beard style.
2) Brainstorm a list of words that you associate with awesomeness. From your list, pick one word to describe your dad and one word to describe you. Combine these two words to invent a new word. Use this new word to write an acrostic poem about your relationship with your dad. (You can also use this exercise with others that you love even your pet.)
To learn more about author/illustrator Bill Cotter, visit:
Meow Monday from the Bonnie Bumble series written by Phyllis Root begins with this opening line: One Monday, Bonnie Bumble’s pussy willows all burst into bloom.
The kittens raise such a ruckus the cows won’t give milk and the hens won’t lay eggs. Bonnie pets, brushes and plays with the kittens but nothing works.
Then Bonnie remembers the milkweed. After feeding, they curl up for a catnap. The farm returns to normal. Everything is calm until…
the dogwood blooms.
This book promotes fluency, flexible thinking and imagination.
TITLE: Meow Monday
AUTHOR: Phyllis Root
ILLUSTRATOR: Helen Craig
PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2000
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: fluency, flexible thinking, imagination
1) From a plant resource book, find plant names that you can use to create a new plant like the author did with her dogwood plant. Sketch your new plant. Name your new plant.
2) What would happen if lions barked and hippos chirped? Imagine what the world would be like if animals changed how they “talked.”
To learn more about author Phyllis Root, visit:
To learn more about illustrator Helen Craig, visit:
Jumbo shrimp 1998 by Jon Agee author/illustrator
Creative Thinking Prompt: Oxymorons
Oxymorons are figures of speech that put together at least two apparently contradictory terms to form a phrase. The phrase “”I am busy doing nothing” is an oxymoron phrase because busy and nothing have completely opposite meanings.
Make a list of oxymorons. Here are some to get started.
Creative Thinking Prompt: From your list of oxymorons pick five to illustrate. Really exaggerate features to add humor to your picture.
Think Deeper: Invent a few of your own oxymorons.
“What Pete Ate A – Z”
WHAT PETE ATE A – Z is not your typical alphabet book! This ABC story follows Pete the Dog as he devours a myriad of things, which he shouldn’t eat such as an accordion, a camera, a pocketbook, and everything to make an egg sandwich. Doesn’t Pete know the difference between edible and inedible?
The letter “G.”
Here’s Pete! What a dog!
This book promotes humor, creativity, imagination, and originality.
TITLE: What Pete Ate A – Z
AUTHOR: Maira Kalman
ILLUSTRATOR: Maira Kalman
PUBLISHER: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001
AGE GROUP: 5-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: humor, creativity, originality, imagination
1) Pick a letter from the alphabet. Brainstorm a list of inedible items that Pete the Dog could eat. Now write a tongue twister about Pete eating some of those items.
2) What happens to Pete at the end of the book after he’s eaten all those inedible things? Write an ending to Pete’s alphabet eating journey.
To learn more about author/illustrator Maira Kalman, visit:
Cat and Yarn are best friends.
They are inseparable. But Girl takes Yarn away.
When Yarn returns, he has changed a lot. Cat is mad!
Can they ever be friends again?
This book promotes adaptability, humor, and originality.
TITLE: Cat Knit
AUTHOR: Jacob Grant
ILLUSTRATOR: Jacob Grant
PUBLISHER: Feiwel and Friends Book, 2016
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: adaptability, humor, originality
1) Use an unusual material to make friendship bracelets to hand out to your friends.
2) In what other ways can yarn be used? Brainstorm a list of ways that yarn can be used.
To learn more about author/illustrator Jacob Grant, visit:
“Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!”
Filled with humor and friendship, Ben Clanton’s graphic novel, Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, geared toward elementary school readers features three stories with “intermissions.” In the first story, Narwhal and Jelly think each is imaginary. When they find they both love waffles, they become best friends. In the second story, Narwhal searches for his pod family. When he doesn’t find them, he makes his own, asking ocean friends to become honorary tusk-wearing members. But Jelly feels left out. In the third story, Narwhal shares his favorite imagination book with Jelly except the pages are blank.
This book promotes creativity, nature, humor, and originality.
TITLE: Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!
AUTHOR: Ben Clanton
ILLUSTRATOR: Ben Clanton
PUBLISHER: Tundra Books, 2016
AGE GROUP: 6-9
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, humor, imagination
1) Create two best friend cartoon characters. Sketch them and give them names. Write a story about them using their imaginations.
2) Writers use word play – a play on words to enhance their writing and deepen their characters. Ben Clanton used “Tentacular!” as dialogue for his octopus character and “Podtastic!” to describe Narwhal and his group of friends. Use word play in your writing to: What might your best friend cartoon characters say? What behavior might they exhibit?
To learn more about author/illustrator Ben Clanton, visit:
“Grandpa Gazillion’s Number Yard”
Numbers aren’t only for counting! Have a special problem? In Grandpa Gazillion’s Number Yard, Grandpa Gazillion has a number that can fix it. Select from numbers 1 – 20 in his yard. Laurie Keller writes and illustrates a creative counting story in rhyme.
This book promotes flexible thinking, imagination, humor, and creativity.
TITLE: Grandpa Gazillion’s Number Yard
AUTHOR: Laurie Keller
ILLUSTRATOR: Laurie Keller
PUBLISHER: Henry Holt and Company, 2005
AGE GROUP: 4-7
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: flexible thinking, imagination, humor, creativity
1) Pick five numbers between twenty-one and thirty. What problem can each number solve? Look at the shapes, curves and lines of each number. Look at them from different perspectives – left, right, upside down. Invent five unusual uses for each chosen number.
2) Continue the Story. In your bedroom, find four objects that resemble numbers. Now replace each “number object” with a different number. Does it change the original object’s function?
3) Number Conga Square. Without lifting your pencil make a continuous line, writing as many numbers as you can inside a 2” x 2” square.
To learn more about author/illustrator Laurie Keller, visit:
11-4-16 Creative Thinking Prompt: Visual Puns
A visual pun is a play on words using images.
“Laughing Gas” from Punny Pixels http://digitalsynopsis.com/design/punny-pixels-illustrated-puns-visual-wordplay/
- uses a word that has a double meaning or different associations
- can communicate a message without using written words
- figurative language – uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation
- combines two or more symbols to form a new meaning
Visual puns are fun and a clever way to use your creativity.
Can you guess what this is?
If not here’s its realistic counterpart.
Creative Thinking Prompt: Create your own visual puns. Here’s a list to get you started: ipod, butterfly, bookworm, fruit fly, running shoes, house fly.
Think Deeper: Invent a visual pun joke.
Here’s my visual pun joke.
What did the eggs do when they saw the frying pan?
They scrambled away.
A creative non-fiction book, I’m Trying To Love Spiders, combines facts about spiders and author Bethany Barton’s journey of overcoming her fear of spiders.
In regards to her perspective on spiders, Bethany Barton stated, “I want to think of them as bug ninjas.” She believes that she shouldn’t be afraid of them since spiders do good things for the world. Did you know that a single spider can eat over 75 pounds of bugs in a year?
Humorous illustrations accompany spider facts.
This story promotes humor, combination – facts with imagination, and a different perspective.
TITLE: I’m Trying To Love Spiders
AUTHOR: Bethany Barton
ILLUSTRATOR: Bethany Barton
PUBLISHER: Viking, 2015
AGE GROUP: 4-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: humor, combination – facts with imagination, and different perspective
1) Pick an animal that you don’t like. Research that animal. Discover at least five facts that you find good (positive) about it. Having learned these new facts, how does it change your perception about the animal? Remember even if you still don’t like the animal, you can appreciate and respect it.
2) Make a variety of homemade spiders.
Egg carton with pipe cleaner spider.
Doughnut and pretzel spider. To easily make these, visit: http://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/2014/09/24/easy-mini-donut-spiders-easy-halloween-treat-kids-can-make.html#_a5y_p=2500159
To learn more about author/illustrator Bethany Barton, visit:
“Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories for all the Letters”
Not your traditional ABC book, Once Upon An Alphabet, is original in its artwork and storytelling. Once upon a time there lived a string of letters that strung together form the alphabet. Each letter’s character works hard to form words, which then turn into stories. Oliver Jeffers’ use of humor, alliteration, facts, and storytelling creates adventure from A to Z.
This story promotes originality and imagination.
TITLE: Once Upon An Alphabet
AUTHOR: Oliver Jeffers
PHOTOS By: Oliver Jeffers
PUBLISHER: Philomel Books, 2014
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: originality, imagination
1) Using the first letter of your first name, invent a letter character. Write a story about your letter character.
2) Write an acrostic poem, using the letters in your name.
Asks “what if”
New World Seeker
Knack for Imagining
Lyrical Language and
Yet another library
To learn more about writing acrostic poems, visit:
To learn more about author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers, visit:
To journey through worlds created by Oliver Jeffers, visit Oliver Jeffers interactive website and click on a character: