Tag Archives: creative problem solving

Chilly Da Vinci

“Chilly Da Vinci”

Chilly did not do penguin things. He built things that did not work.

When Chilly’s invention accidentally breaks a chunk of ice off from the Vinci colony, 

he needs to prove to himself and the other stranded penguins that he has what it takes to be a good penguin.

This story promotes creative components of imagination, taking risks, and humor.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because I am a big fan of Leonardo da Vinci’s and as such, I really enjoyed seeing J. Rutland’s perspective and how he introduces Da Vinci to young readers through a humorous story about a penguin taking risks despite failure.  

TITLE: Chilly Da Vinci

AUTHOR: J. Rutland


PUBLISHER: NorthSouth Books, 2019


TOPIC(S): penguins, inventing, a nod to Leonardo da Vinci

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, taking risks, humor


1) Research a scooter or skateboard. How might you change its design to improve its function? Additionally, what other functions can a skateboard or scooter perform or what else can it be?

2) Play with ice cubes and popsicle sticks or toothpicks. What can you make?

3) Look at one of Leonardo da Vinci’s invention designs. How might that invention be used today?


To learn more about author/illustrator J. Rutland visit:

Robyn Boid: Architect


Robyn Boid: Architect”

Robyn Boid lives on the ledge of the university’s architecture school. She wants to be an architect when she grows up so she listens and learns.

Before designing a nest, she asks herself questions to investigate. Are nests always best? What comes first: the nest or the egg?

She practices different nest-shaped designs such as a dome, a towering spire, cylinders, and pyramids. Robyn always asks herself: how will an egg fit.

Will Robyn find the answers to her questions and design the best nest for an egg?

At the back of the book are a glossary of architecture terms and teacher notes.

This story promotes creative components of curiosity, risk-taking, and creative problem solving.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because the main character continually asks questions as she experiments with her designs.

TITLE: Robyn Boid: Architect

AUTHOR: Maree Coote


PUBLISHER: Melbournestyle Books, 2017


TOPIC(S): architecture, design process

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: curiosity, risk-taking, creative problem solving


1) After reading the book, which nest do you like best? What questions might you ask in order to better understand how to build this particular design? What types of materials and bonding agents can be used? Research answers to your questions. Using trial and error, experiment with different materials and bonding agents. Then build your favorite nest from the book.

2) Invent a new nest design that you think would be fit for an egg.


To learn more about author and illustrator Maree Coote, visit:


The Patchwork Bike

The Patchwork Bike” 

In the book, The Patchwork Bike, siblings make their own fun by building a bike from scratch.

Using a hodgepodge of scavenged items, they assemble their bike and ride it through their village and their mud-for-walls home.

Lyrical language and powerful illustrations create an evocative story.

This story promotes creative components of diversity, resourceful, imagination, and inventiveness.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because the marriage of text and perfectly evoke the joy of riding a bike and capturing readers’ imagination. The title immediately piqued my curiosity, and I wondered how could a bike be patchwork. I enjoyed the author’s lyrical language such as shicketty shake and winketty wonk.

TITLE: The Patchwork Bike

AUTHOR: Maxine Beneba Clarke


PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2018


TOPIC(S): recycled materials, culture, siblings, bike riding

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: diversity, resourceful, imagination, inventiveness


1) Hodgepodge, a synonym for patchwork, is defined as being composed of parts of different kinds. Basically, it is an assortment of different things that do not originally go together but are assembled together to create a final product. What can you make? Gather different items. Take apart the larger items (with permission) into smaller parts. Looking at these various parts, what can you make to create a hodgepodge machine? What is the function(s) of your machine? Build your machine. Name your machine.

2) Design a bike that reflects your personality. Conduct research on different types of bicycles. Remember to look at past bikes, recent bikes, and even bikes of the future to inspire your design.

3) Illustrator Van Thanh Rudd painted on recycled cardboard for the book’s illustrations. Try your hand at painting on cardboard. How is it different from painting on paper? Why do you think the illustrator used cardboard?


To learn more about author Maxine Beneba Clarke, visit:


To learn more about illustrator Van Thanh Rudd, visit: