Actual Size written and illustrated by Steven Jenkins brings readers face to face with the actual size of an animal’s physical trait. Some featured animals and their traits in this book are a bear’s head, a dwarf goby fish, an anteater’s tongue, and a crocodile’s snout.
Readers can visually compare themselves to the animal by placing their hand against the page to compare and contrast similarities and differences.
Each page informs about the animal’s length, height and/or weight. Back matter includes facts about each animal.
This book promotes creative non-fiction, imagination, and discovery.
TITLE: Actual Size
AUTHOR: Steve Jenkins
ILLUSTRATOR: Steve Jenkins
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004
AGE GROUP: 4-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative nonfiction, imagination, discovery
1) Pick an animal and one of its body parts that you can compare and contrast. Draw that part to its actual size. This activity could also be made into a classroom book.
2) How could you creatively present information about your favorite animal? With a group of friends pick different animals to research. Then write a play or song using the facts you learned. Present your play.
To learn more about author/illustrator Steve Jenkins, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Sugar Painting
A Chinese traditional folk art, sugar painting is a skilled art form that is fading away in today’s society. To be trained in this art form, sugar painters often first train as a traditional painter. Using a marble slab as a canvas, melted caramelized sugar, a ladle type spoon, and a metal spatula as their tools, sugar artists create phoenix, dragons, and koi fish. Once created, the art is attached to a wooden stick to eat.
Watch this three minute video to view a sugar koi fish being made.
To learn more about China’s sugar art, visit:
Kids can paint with sugar, too.
Creative Thinking Prompt: An Egg of Ideas
◊ Go on an egg hunt for ideas. Make a list of subjects. Write each subject on a small piece of paper. Fill the plastic eggs with the papers. Hide the eggs. After the egg hunt, students make a list of “I wonder” questions that interest them about the subject in each egg. Use the 5W1H creative thinking technique – who, what, when, where, why and how.
◊ What else can an egg be? Brainstorm for at least ten minutes. Circle the most unusual idea.
◊ In what ways might an egg be used? Brainstorm for at least ten minutes.
◊ Decorate an egg in a way that disguises the egg.
◊ Write a short story about an adventure that an egg might have from the viewpoint of the egg.
◊ Invent a game using plastic eggs.
These activities encourage curiosity, flexible thinking, perspective, and imagination.
Use your imagination to play ZA ZA ZOOM! ® created by Hervé Tullet, the author/illustrator of these books
and Mix It Up!
ZA ZA ZOOM! ® an open-ended game with its double-sided cards
fosters imagination and stimulates creative thinking. There are many different ways to play. Players can create their own games, play a matching game or the Roadbuilder game or the Patterngrower game.
Ages: 3 and up
Players: 2-4 players; partners or single players
Created by: Hervé Tullet (picture book author/illustrator)
Published: Chronicle Books, 2016
Any way you play it, ZA ZA ZOOM! ® is sure to be a visual adventure.
To learn more about Hervé Tullet, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Chalk Art Sparks Storytelling
Photo via http://www.boredpanda.com/sluggo-chalk-drawings-street-art-david-zinn/
When I came across a post about Chalk Artist David Zinn, my imagination sparked. I couldn’t help but wonder what these characters’ stories were. Incorporating the surrounding environment to create his characters, Zinn pulls audiences into other realms, daring fans to imagine – where did this come from? what are they doing? why are they here? where are they going?
Creative Thinking Prompt: Chalk Art Sparks Storytelling
Visit David Zinn’s gallery http://zinnart.com/2015/11/far-flung-and-underfoot-traveling-street-art-2015/ or http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/09/david-zinn/.
After viewing Zinn’s chalk art, be inspired to write a story. Remember to have a beginning, middle and ending. Title your story.
“ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet”
An ABC circus that good enough to eat!
Author/illustrator Juana Medina’s pasta characters and use of alliteration create a very entertaining way to learn the alphabet.
This book promotes creativity, originality, and flexible thinking.
TITLE: ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet
AUTHOR: Juana Medina
ILLUSTRATOR: Juana Medina
PUBLISHER: Viking, 2017
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, originality, flexible thinking
1) Pick a food group. Use that food to create a variety of characters.
2) Using dried pasta or cooked spaghetti, form letters of the alphabet.
3) Invent your own pasta characters and tell their stories.
To learn more about author/illustrator Juana Medina, visit:
I also love this counting salad book by Juana Medina.
Creative Thinking Prompt: The Green Blob
Brainstorm a list of at least 100 things that are green. Circle the most unusual ones.
Brainstorm a list of at least 100 things that move. Circle the most unusual ones.
Now take one circled item from each list and combine them to invent The Green Blob.
Your green blob can be anything – a thing, a creature, a storybook character, or a new invention.
Sketch out your blob.
What are the characteristics of your blob?
What makes your blob unique?
What does your blob do?
Name your blob.
EXTENDED LEARNING CONNECTIONS:
Just for fun. To make green slime (recipe included), visit:
Kids in the Kitchen: Homemade Slime!
“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:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Unusual Knitting
Knitting Artist Dave Cole
knits using unusual materials such as lead-lined fabric and Kevlar and using unusual knitting needles like excavation machines and rifles.
This teddy bear he knitted from fiberglass.
This flag he knitted using John Deere excavation machines.
Titled “The Knitting Machine.”
Creative Thinking Prompt: Brainstorm a list of knitting materials that someone can use to knit with. Brainstorm a second list of items that can be used as knitting needles. Pair one of your knitting materials with one of your knitting needles items, then Google to see if anyone has ever tried knitting in that fashion.
EXTENDED LEARNING CONNECTIONS:
To view more of Dave Cole art, visit:
Kids can knit with their fingers. Watch this easy tutorial to start creating your own knitting handiworks.
How to Finger Knit, Episode 80 by Fiber Flux at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZsUBYU0qU
“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: