Ah, the imagination. That magical, wondrous part of all of us waiting to be used. Books are meant to inspire the imagination by taking us into the lives of different characters, walking us across the landscapes of different places (real and fictional), and showing us things we may never see in our real lives. Every single story asks us to use our imagination in some capacity, but some books inspire us in very unique ways. I've compiled a list of some books to read to your toddler to get them to think creatively, and to inspire new ways of seeing the world. Pick up any of these books in the book store or local library and get ready to have a lot of fun.
What Makes it Great? This is a book that is heavily dependent on pictures and not story, but simply put; it's about a little rabbit, a box, and a big imagination. This book challenges children to think creatively and to go beyond prescribed uses for things. As the character keeps insisting that what's he's playing with is "not a box", children get a chance to guess what imaginative thing the box is being used for using the bunny's position for clues. I have read this at many story times and the answers always surprise me! There are hundreds of ways to use a box. Also check out the follow up book with the same structure, Not a Stick.
Book: Press Here / Hervé Tullet
What Makes it Great? This is a book for the child who is obsessed with your smart phone. Throughout the pages, you're encouraged to interact with the dot on the page, seemingly manipulating it's movements. Press on it to multiply, shake the book to get it moving, etc. Children will love how they make an impact on the images by moving and touching the book. If your little one can already read, it is a great book for the back of the car on a long ride. If they can't read yet? Cozy up close and read it together, but don't be surprised if you have to read it more than once!
Book: It Looked Like Spilt Milk / Charles G. Shaw
What Makes it Great? Similar to Not a Box above, this book asks the reader to think creatively based on simple images. Each cloud picture has the shape of something recognizable, that your non reader can guess before you read the words. The pictures are no more than white blobs on a bright blue background. Simple and sweet. I suggest reading this book at the park on a nice spring or summer day, and then laying down and finding shapes in the actual clouds above you. Or, on a rainy day, you can create your own bright skies by gluing down cotton balls on blue construction paper in different shapes. Keep those imaginations ever working!
Book: The Book With No Pictures / B.J. Novak
What Makes it Great? While the other books on this list focus on pictures to inspire the imagination, allowing the images to do all the work, this book goes in the opposite direction. As the title states, there are no pictures at all, and the fun comes from the cadence and emphasis used when reading and the silliness rampant in the text. This book needs to be read aloud, and don't be surprised when your very visual child laughs out loud the whole time. When you commit to reading this book, you really have to own it. Use your most enthusiastic voice. Full of nonsense words and hilarious imagery (what does a robot monkey look like?), this book is sure to please.