“How Can You Dance?”
This picture book is a celebration of creative movement. Readers will have fun dancing these new steps.
Imagine how you can dance with spring in your shoes, you can’t move your knees or you’re mad as a bee.
This book promotes creative expression and making connections.
TITLE: How Can You Dance?
AUTHOR: Rick Walton
ILLUSTRATOR: Ana López Escrivá
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative expression and making connections
1) Make a list of feelings. How might you dance to sadness or happiness or scared?
2) Substitute movement for your name. For example, my name Ann is shown by jumping up and clapping my hands above my head.
3) Tell a short story using only movement (no words). You can use a story you already know or make one up.
To learn more about author Rick Walton, visit:
To learn more about illustrator Ana López Escrivá, visit:
Adam Hillman, SpaghettiOOOOOOOOO, 2016
Creative Thinking Prompt: Knolling
Knolling is defined as arranging objects at 90 degree angles from each other and then photographing them. American sculptor Tom Sachs uses knolling as an integral part to his process. He describes the process of knolling in his 2009 studio manual, 10 Bullets.
- Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
- Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
- Group all ‘like’ objects.
- Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.
Object Arranger Artist Adam Hillman creates his artwork using knolling. By carefully arranging items, he makes colorful compositions and then photographs them.
Images ©Adam Hillman
Think Deeper: Try your hand at knolling. Collect objects from around your home that share a common trait and arrange them using 90 degree angles.
To view more of Adam’s artwork, visit:
To learn more about knolling and view artwork, visit:
“Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog”
In the picture book, Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog, Mr. Putney has all sorts of unusual friends. Readers guess the animals’ names based on clues in the pictures and text.
Turn the page to discover Mr. Putney’s animal friend.
Turn the page to discover Mr. Putney’s animal friend.
This book promotes creativity, inventiveness and imagination.
TITLE: Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog
AUTHOR: Jon Agee
ILLUSTRATOR: Jon Agee
PUBLISHER: Michael Di Capua Books, Scholastic, 2010
AGE GROUP: 6-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, inventiveness, imagination
1) Invent your own animal riddles like author Jon Agee.
Other animal riddles from the story are
pastry + turtle = tartle and chicken pox + hippo = hippospotamus.
2) Write riddle poetry. Visit:
To learn more about author/illustrator Jon Agee, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Paint Blots
What do you see in the above paint blot? I see a person facing left and a person facing right. Traditionally, ink blots are blotted patterns of spilled ink that are used in personality tests. Instead of using black ink, I used gold paint. And we will use blots for fun – to feed our imaginations.
I see a praying mantis and a dinosaur skull. What do you see?
I see a maple leaf. When I turn it upside-down, I see a turtle. What do you see?
Create your own paint blots. Fold a piece of paper in half. Unfold it. On one half of the paper, place a few blobs of paint. Fold the paper and pat your hand over the paper. Unfold. What images do you see? Turn the paper 90 degrees. What do you see now? Turn it again. What do you see again? Ask others what they see? How does their interpretations differ from yours?
“All Year Round”
In All Year Round, author Susan Katz creates whimsical, rhyming poems that teach shapes, seasons, and the twelve months of the year – all rolled into one. Each month is paired with a shape. March is paired with an oval.
July and summer are paired with a rectangle.
Eiko Ojala’s 3-D illustrations make you want to jump into the book.
This book promotes concepts, making connections, nature and flexible thinking.
TITLE: All Year Round
AUTHOR: Susan Katz
ILLUSTRATOR: Eiko Ojala
PUBLISHER: Orchard Books, 2016
AGE GROUP: 3-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: flexible thinking, nature, making connections
1) What’s your favorite shape? What is your favorite month of the year? Connect your shape and month – what do they share in common?
2) How many shapes can you think of? Brainstorm for at least ten minutes, making a list of all the shapes you can think up. Pick six shapes from your list and use them together to form an image.
To learn more about author Susan Katz, visit:
To learn more about illustrator Eiko Ojala, visit:
“Frida and Bear Play the Shape Game”
Best friends Frida and Bear love to draw until one day Bear runs out of ideas. Frida draws a strange shape.
Bear draws the shape into a dog.
And the Shape Game begins. Bear hands Frida a twig. She draws wings around the twig to create a butterfly. The friends take turns drawing and inventing new pictures.
This story promotes imagination, flexible thinking, making connections, and creative expression.
TITLE: Frida and Bear Play the Shape Game
AUTHOR: Anthony Browne
ILLUSTRATOR: Hanne Bartholin
PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2015
AGE GROUP: 4-7
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, flexible thinking, making connections, creative expression
1) Draw an unusual shape. Have your partner transform it into something else. Take turns drawing.
2) Play the Shape Game from the book to create an entire new world.
To learn more about author Anthony Browne, visit:
Hanne Bartholin is a Danish illustrator and recipient of the Danish Ministry of Culture Illustration Prize.
Here’s a previous post about a drawing game called Squiggles.
Creative Thinking Prompt: Pushing Creative Bounds
Creative Christop Niemann pushes himself to become a better illustrator by stepping outside of his comfort zone. He picks a single object and looks at it, trying to envision how this object can become part of a larger image.
His book Sunday Sketching is a result of his internal drive to be creative.
To learn more about Christoph Niemann and his work, visit: http://www.christophniemann.com
Creative Thinking Prompt: Create your own work of art, using a singular object and incorporating it into an image.
Here’s my work – Crocodile Key.
Think Deeper: Create a series of these artworks and use them to create a story.
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.
Creative Thinking Prompt: Hidden on the Inside
This post started with “I wonder… how marshmallows have an outer crust to protect the gooey inside when the outer and inner parts of the marshmallow are made of similar ingredients.”
Then I asked another question – what is similar to a marshmallow with the soft gooey inside and a harder outside shell. Then my mind made another connection, which led to today’s creative thinking prompt.
What else hides something inside?
Think nature. Use your imagination. Look around you. Add 30 more ideas to the list below.
- shells protect nuts
- skin protects muscles and organs
- egg shells
- protective outer shell contains that contain a hidden
- a chest filled with treasure
- beans pods with beans inside
- milkweed pods
- a house
Think Deeper: Make your own marshmallows. What flavor would you create?
Here are two different recipes.
Animals, people, storybook characters live in many different structures called homes. Carson Ellis introduces readers to a variety of homes found throughout time and the world.
Illustrations tickle readers’ imaginations as they wonder about who lives in these homes.
This story promotes flexible thinking, making connections, and diversity.
AUTHOR: Carson Ellis
ILLUSTRATOR: Carson Ellis
PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2015
AGE GROUP: 4-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: flexible thinking, making connections, and diversity
1) Think about the neighborhood you live in. List 10 different homes. Think about a place you visited. List 10 different homes. Compare the homes on your lists. How are they alike? How are they different? Which home would you only like to visit and why? Which home would you like to live in and why?
2) Home and house can mean different things to different people. What does each mean to you? What does qualities does a home have that a house doesn’t?
To learn more about author/ illustrator Carson Ellis, visit: