Book Bites: Worlds of Pure Imagination

Dreams and imagination go hand in hand, promoting and sustaining creativity, hope, and expectations; all crucial to developing young mind sets. The curious world of dreams was explored in picture book, Snoozette last week. If you want to view paradise…visit this collection of picture books that applaud unfettered imagination.

My Real Friend
What I adore about this recently released picture book by David Hunt and Lucia Masciullo is the way both artists give imagination a real persona. His name is, Rupert and he plays the fartlephone. He also has many shared pursuits with his real life friend, William. Together they share sporting and artistic activities. They share the same dwelling and venture on the same quests. It’s an exciting and varied existence however sometimes, Rupert wishes he could do what he wants to do and not be at the mercy of William’s imagination. As the school holidays draw to a close, William announces he’d rather a real friend. It’s a devastating blow for Rupert – or is it? Simply written and exquisitely illustrated with splashes and splodges of watercolour, My Real Friend is a fun yet tender look at learning to let go, identifying need and want, and the quality of friendship. Highly recommended.

Title: My Real Friend
Author: David Hunt
Illustrator: Lucia Masciullo
Publisher: ABC Books HarperCollins, $24.99
Publication Date: April 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780733334894
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: HarperCollins, Boomerang Books

Wandering Star
Natalie Jane Prior’s elegantly rhyming verse lopes gently along like a cantering steed allowing readers to follow a young girl and her horse, Wandering Star as they explore various dreamscapes. Astride her ‘Queen of the Night’, the girl pens sheep, explores a mystical coastline, navigates sinister forests and finally encounters an enchanted fairy kingdom. Fear is never a concern for Wandering Star who is surefooted and brave, a friend the girl can always depend on. King’s fantastical illustrations ripple with whimsy and colour, manifesting all those childhood moments of wishing for a horse of my own to adventure with. Wandering Star is sure to strike accord with horse lovers and dreamers.

Title: Wandering Star
Author: Natalie Jane Prior
Illustrator: Stephen Michael King
Publisher: Scholastic Press, $24.99
Publication Date: May 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 97817600663339
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books

When Billy Was a Dog
If you love dogs chances are you have one, want one or at some point, pretended to be one. Kirsty Murray’s alluring tale centres around young Billy whose desire to own a pup of his own is so strong, he assumes the role of a dog much to the consternation of his parents. So convincing is his role playing, even Fluff, Mrs Banerjee’s dog from next door accepts him as  her poochy playmate. But being a dog is tiring and by the end of his escapades, Billy still does not have a dog. Then after Fluff is mysteriously quarantined from play, things take a turn for the miraculous. Full of heart-warming hope and Karen Blair’s absolutely huggable illustrations, this story of imagination and dreams is feel-good plus reading.

Title: When Billy Was a Dog
Author: Kirsty Murray
Illustrator: Karen Blair
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: June 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760631826
For ages: 3 - 6
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Allen & Unwin, Boomerang Books

The Incurable Imagination
Audrey is not quite like other kindy kids. She's different in a way we can't quite put our finger on despite visual hints and descriptions otherwise. She doesn't think in sepia tones for a start like the other kids do, the ones who paint sensible portraits of their parents and stick to singing well known nursery rhymes.

It's not until she starts big school though that Audrey's condition intensifies, and is eventually diagnosed as 'imagination'. Despite all attempts to quash Audrey's outrageous fantasies, her condition flares until it eventually infects her whole class. Pretty soon, angry trolls and troublesome pirates are brightening the school’s corridors until Audrey's classmates and teachers are bouncing with new found enthusiasm.

The plague of imagination is not confined to the school. It spreads into the streets, through the town, colouring the world with purpose and light and happiness so bright even we, the readers, can see it.

Russell's affinity with young minds is irresistibly evident in his stories. His words, along with Aśka's bouncy and bright illustrations, allow older readers to be that child again, the one who embraced imaginary friendships and yellow unicorns and fire breathing dragons. For younger children, The Incurable Imagination allows them to luxuriate in their childhoods and gives them permission to seize every opportunity to revel in their imagination - a disease grownups should be less insistent on eradicating.

Title: The Incurable Imagination
Author: Paul Russel
Illustrator: Aśka
Publisher: EK Books, $24.99
Publication Date: April 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781925335972
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: EK Books, Boomerang Books

The Box Cars
Vescio has really come into his stride with this picture book. Succinct and straightforward narrative teams beautiful with Cara King's delightful rainbow wash of water-coloured illustrations. There's plenty of kid appeal on every page as we follow the daily play of best friends, Liam and Kai whose favourite past time is racing and playing in their box cars in the park. Imagination runs the full gamut as they pursue baddies, escort celebrities and pick up passengers in their versatile box cars. Until one day, the duo becomes a trio.

Eve is keen to join in but feels relegated to watching from the sidelines. The kind-hearted boys enlist an all-inclusive policy that unfortunately just doesn't add up - they only have two boxes - and sadly their play ends in tatters. How the boys solve the dilemma is brilliant and pays terrific homage to creative problem-solving and how far one could go for the sake of friendship. With gentle nods to respect for the environment, recycling and the joy of the great outdoors vs. the cursed device screen as entertainment, this picture book has much to rejoice about. Highly recommended.

Title: The Box Cars
Author: Robert Vescio
Illustrator: Cara King
Publisher: EK Books, $24.99
Publication Date: February 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781925335835
For ages: 4 – 8         
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: EK Books, Boomerang Books

Eva’s Imagination
Eva is bored and restless until her mum suggests she search for her imagination. With her trusty companion, Chops by her side and a pack full of essentials, Eva sets off into the unknown, trekking through forests, snake-infested jungles and up and down steep mountains. Her search ends disappointingly; failing to turn up any real evidence of her missing imagination yet her reward is more than worth all her efforts. Wenda Shurety’s debut picture book harnesses the value of imagination in a playfully recognisable way. Most of us (bigger kids) have envisaged our bedrooms as exotic caves waiting to be explored or transformed various rooms of the house in some way with our imaginations as kids. Eva’s adventure is parallelled cleverly by Erasmus’s fanciful illustrations convincing readers that they are experiencing the same heart-stopping situations as Eva. A lovely ode to imaginative play.

Title: Eva’s Imagination
Author: Wenda Shurety
Illustrator: Karen Erasmus
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing, $24.99
Publication Date: October 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781925594232
For ages: 3 – 6         
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: New Frontier Publishing, Booktopia


Norah Colvin said…
A lovely collection of gorgeous books. Thanks, Dimity.
DimbutNice said…
Always welcome, Norah! They really are inspiring and full of magic.

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