Flights of Fantasy – Imaginative Picture Books

Perhaps one of the most fulfilling perks of writing for kids is the time spent flitting around in my imagination. It’s a weird, boundless place, which allows me to harness old memories and reinvigorate them into wondrous dreams-come-true. These next few picture books are glorious examples of tapping into imaginative flights of fantasy and exploring the possibilities.

Young MacDonald by Giuseppe Poli

When I was a kid, I trussed up my trusty bicycle with the dog’s lead so that I had my very own ‘horse’ to ride around the backyard. I jumped my Malvern Star-steed in Gymkhanas, rode for days through dusty paddocks and occasionally found a hut high in the Snowy Mountains to hunker down in and ride out a storm. A remarkable amount of miles covered for a 12-year-old.

Young MacDonald, son of the much loved, Old Mac, is no different. We first meet Young Mac after he gets his own little red bike. To the familiar refrain of this well-known nursery rhyme, Young Mac goes a ting-a-linging everywhere on his bike. Encounters with a variety of vibrant characters on the farm, slowly transform his bike into a bike-digger-pirate-ship-chopper-sub-rocket that fills his day with ‘fantastical adventure’ (albeit no ponies but there you go).

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Review – ‘Imagine’ by Emma Mactaggart and Ester De Boer

Imagine emma mactaggart picImagine, Emma Mctaggart (author), Ester De Boer (illus.), Boogie Books, 2015.  

What would you do in your most fantastical of daydreams? Totally let your imagination run free…where would you go? In Emma Mactaggart and Ester De Boer’s explosive ‘Imagine’, we are taken on a zoo adventure wilder than you could ever devise!  

Utterly ridiculous! Absolutely preposterous! So much fun! We are given a little taste of individual children brainstorming their interactions with animals in the most unusual, extraordinary ways. From tall giraffe high-chairs, to bathing in a hippo, riding in an elephant car, using an ostrich as a broom, and speeding along on a cheetah bike. Now children, don’t frighten those animals with those rip-roaring imaginations!  

Imagine pic With its lyrical rhythm and fast-paced flow, Emma Mactaggart has created an energetic and delightful story to engage all the senses. The equally exuberant illustrations by Ester De Boer add an extra dimension to the text with their colourful watercolours, movement and intricate details. The result of the pair’s collaboration is ”magical”. As Emma describes, “On one hand, a great deal of trust has be to shown as you are trusting another person to interpret your words. It is super important to pick the right person who has the right style for what you envisage. Even though Ester had never illustrated a book before, I knew her drawing skills were masterful, her sense of imagination was extraordinary and she has a wicked sense of humour!”    

The repetitive theme and sentence structure, along with the interactive nature of the story will be sure to hook its readers along for the ride. ‘Imagine’ is creative and refreshing, perfect for children of primary school age to delve in to again and again.  

Head-shot_Emma Mactaggart‘Imagine’ is a book that certainly encourages readers to open their minds and test logic, but it also empowers emotive and coginitive control. It has been found by scientist J.L. Singer that daydreaming benefits a healthy mental life by driving creative thought, ambitiousness, the development of social skills, and as a form of meditation (brainpickings.org). When asked for her thoughts, author Emma Mactaggart believes that “Daydreaming is the ultimate right brain activity. We float into a space which allows the ‘flash’ of an idea to pop up. It is a homework item for the Child Writes children for exactly this reason. Daydreaming needs two things – permission from those around you and permission for yourself to drift.”  

Child Writes pic Award-winning independent publisher and author, Emma Mactaggart is an inspirational literacy advocate for young people, establishing the Child Writes program which enables students to create and publish their own books. She is the author of ‘Child Writes: Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play’, which is a valuable resource for aspiring children’s writers and artists.

To find out more about Emma and her work, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/ChildWrites

To view ‘Imagine’ on YouTube, click here:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DfpJY1V8uxY