Posts tagged ‘creativity’

TRIAL AND ERROR

 

Jerry the Squirrel: Volume One (Arestana Series)

Written and Illustrated by Shawn P.B. Robinson

This book is the first in a series that features Jerry, a squirrel who loves to invent things. Jerry uses his imagination to problem solve the issues of everyday life that confront him. One day Jerry decides to end the problem of not having his slippers next to his bed when he wakes up to a cold floor each morning. Jerry spends all day and night designing a pair of slippers that will come to him each morning. When Jerry succeeds in the task, he gets more than he bargained for. His slippers take charge and take him on a wild adventure. All the squirrel neighbors watch in fascination. They are eager to sign up for a pair of slippers just like Jerry’s.

The book contains other adventures. One of these deals with Jerry needing to come up with an idea fast when he fails to garner enough nuts for the winter and another chronicles his adventure with the nut beetles. All of them feature the trials and tribulations of Jerry’s career as an inventor who experiences success and failure.

This book might best be described as a series of short stories rather than a chapter book. Because it does not contain illustrations and the stories are short, it is a good choice for reluctant or beginning readers. It encourages creativity and independent solutions to problem-solving. I would recommend it for ages six through fourteen.

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KEEPING KIDS ENGAGED

The Children’s Busy Book:365 Creative Learning Games and Activities to Keep Your 6-10 Year Old Busy

Written by Trish Kuffner

365ActivitiesBusy,pic

The author is not trying to reinvent the wheel; she does want to help you make the most of your child’s free time. Contents of this book are designed to stimulate creativity, social skills, imagination and thinking skills. They can be used after school, during the summer, or on a weekend. The ages six to ten are recommended but not arbitrary as younger children as well as adults might also enjoy them. They are not gender specific; the categories are generalized with much overlapping.

Let’s look at some of the chapter headings: rainy days, indoor Olympics, fun outdoors, my family and me, arts and crafts, and holiday fun. Under these headings the reader will find some traditional games like jump rope and hopscotch, marbles and card games. There are some great recipes in the kids in the kitchen section like oatmeal pancakes and Teriyaki chicken. In the math area there are activities like naming that coin and calendar games. Budding scientists learn how to make rock candy crystals fossils, and invisible ink. For a family project children might want to research a family tree, create a scrapbook or set up a “praise box.”

In the Appendix, Kuffner lists more suggestions for reading, resources for parents, and an index of supplies needed to complete or create the projects. This book leaves nothing to be desired. Everything needed is clearly delineated and indexed. The guide is a valuable resource to be placed on the shelves of parents, camp counselors, librarians and teachers. Just the thing to reach for as soon as an adult hears a child say, “I’m bored.”

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THE POWER OF IMAGINATION

MAGICINUS:THEPOWEROFIMAGINATION

Written and illustrated by: Natalie Tinti

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This is the second book in the Sewing a Friendship series. The first book was written by Ms. Tinti when she was ten years old. In this new book, we again meet our young friends: Sokron Blossom, Nina Key, Jonsy Jipsey, Meeka Venya and Kiki Shaver. Grandma Babushka oversees matters; Dogon the dog is the faithful messenger secret agent, and The-Wind narrates as himself.

The Wind begins the story when he notices that Dogon is scurrying to Meeka’s house with a message tied around his neck. The letter reveals that Nina has a horrible scratch on her finger and cannot play her music. Meeka, the math nerd , tries to think up a way to make her feel better. Dogon dashes to Jonsy who finds a Happy Song as a present. Dogon finds Kiki next. She is trying on her outfit from her last fashion show.  Before meeting these girls, she did not care much about others. She ponders how she can help Nina. Finally, Dogon arrives at Sokron’s home where she is cutting out pictures of dresses from a fashion magazine. She rummages though her closet to find a gift. Dogon reports back to Grandma Babushka who has been hiding in a tree surveying the situation from afar.

The girls arrive at Nina’s home to surprise her. Nina has been in her room and has just found Bellkoo’s album of songs about friendship and never giving up. That reminds Nina of her own friends. At that moment, the doorbell rings. The four girls have never been in Nina’s house and are shocked to see how strict and tidy it appears. Notes everywhere say, “Don’t touch this!” They are relieved to find that Nina’s room is a mess. Each one of them has a special present for Nina., which represents each of their personalities.

The Wind watches as the second part of the book unfolds. Nina suggests that they tell stories and draw pictures on fabric to represent them. She begins by narrating a tale of friendship like their own. As each girl creatively adds to the imaginary story, they incorporate their personality and elements of their friendship. The stories are cleverly written and interwoven. Tinti  provides an appendix with a find the differences picture and then invites the readers to submit their own stories to her, which she will incorporate in a new book written for children by children.

The illustrations are done in manga style in vivid colors. These characters remind me of Precious Moments figures. Middle grade readers will find them delightful. They share similar issues, likes and dislikes with their readers. A delightful story and a worthwhile addition to a parent or classroom library. Adults will enjoy the creativity displayed in this book. Looking forward to seeing more from this young author and  reading that collection of stories from children around the world.

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