The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Imagine That! - October 2009

Selected and annotated by Ayanna Coleman


Barrows, Annie. The Magic Half. Bloomsbury, 2008. 211 p. Gr. 4-6.
As Miri hunts for the buried treasure that legend says is supposed to be somewhere on her property, she discovers a small piece of glass taped to her wall. Looking through the lens, Miri finds herself still in her room, but in 1935.

Beaty, Andrea. Dr. Ted; illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre. McElderry, 2008. 32 p. 4-7 yrs.
Ted, a little bear, bumps his knee, decides he needs a doctor, and then decides to become one himself when he finds there isn’t one in the house. After waiting too long in his own waiting room for patients, he locates a bunch of them at school.

Clark, Joan. Snow; pictures by Kady MacDonald Denton. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2006. 32 p. 4-6 yrs.
After watching the snow fall for a month, Sammy ventures into the outdoors, climbs up a snow pile and imagines what might be beneath the other heaps. From black bears to shipwrecks to Santa's workshop, Sammy creates all sorts of answers to satisfy his curiosity.

Creech, Sharon. Replay. Cotler/HarperCollins, 2005. 240 p. Gr. 3-6.
Meet Leonardo. His life is filled with possibilities; he's a dreamer (which gains him the nickname of fog boy). When Leo finds his father’s journal that he wrote when he was 13 and is selected as the Old Crone in the school play, he’s got to use his imagination and deductive skills to piece together his part and his father’s mysterious journal.

Donaldson, Julia. The Fish Who Cried Wolf; illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Levine/Scholastic, 2008. 32 p. 5-8 yrs.
Tiddler is a tiny fish with a propensity for tall tales. Habitually late for school, he offers a different excuse each day. He's been riding a seahorse, got trapped in a treasure chest, was captured by a squid, etc. The other students discount his stories, but Little Johnny Dory loves them and passes them on to his grandmother. When Tiddler's daydreaming lands him far from home, it is the retracing of the trail of his own stories that leads him back again.

Fleischman, Paul and Hawkes, Kevin. Sidewalk Circus. Candlewick, 2004. 32 p. 4-9 yrs.
A young girl's downtown bus stop bench turns into a front row seat. "World-Renowned Garibaldi Circus!!! Coming Soon!" the marquee of a theater across the street shouts. But the girl doesn't have to wait. As she watches, an elderly man begins posting banners and signs, and the world transforms into a sidewalk circus.

Frazee, Marla. Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?. Dial, 2006. 40 p. Gr. 2-4.
What is perhaps the world's most tired joke becomes fresh and inspired in this lively collection of work by well-known contemporary children's book artists. On each spread, a different contributor offers a new, illustrated punch line to the title question.

Fucile, Tony. Let’s Do Nothing. Candlewick, 2009. 40 p. 4-7 yrs.
After playing all kinds of games, reading comic books, and baking enough cookies to feed a small country, two boys agree to do nothing for 10 seconds. When Sal, the older child, tells Frankie that they are going to sit in chairs and pretend to be statues in the park, the younger boy's imagination runs wild and ruins the moment.

Grey, Mini. Traction Man Is Here. Knopf, 2005. 32 p. Gr. 2-4.
Opening a present on Christmas morning, a boy finds the latest Traction Man action figure, who takes on an adventurous life of his own: diving into the soapy, underwater world of the kitchen sink; escaping the "Poisonous Dishcloth"; and adopting a "brave little scrubbing brush" as his pet.

Griffin, Adele. Where I Want To Be. Putnam, 2005. 160 p. Gr. 7-12.
Teen sisters Jane and Lily tell the story of their relationship in alternating chapters. The plot brings a growing understanding that Jane is telling her story after her death.

Herbert, Gail and Hutchings, Hazel. Mattland ; art by Duésan Petriéciâc. Anneck, 2008. 32 p. 5-9 yrs.
Matt finds himself in yet another new home. Surrounded by an uninspiring landscape and lacking friends, he begins to poke at the mud outside his house. He quickly notices in his marks the beginning of a landscape. Bit by bit, a miniature world unfolds before him.

Holm, Jennifer. Babymouse: Queen of the World!. Random House, 2005. 96 p. Gr. 2-4.
Meet Babymouse, a sassy young mouse who dreams of glamour, excitement, adventure, straight whiskers, being queen of the world, and of course, being invited to Felicia Furrypaws's oh-so-exclusive party.

Joosse, Barbara. Roawr!; illustrated by Jan Jutte. Philomel, 2009. 40 p. 3-5yrs.
Liam is described as "just a boy too small to fight off forest things." His papa is away and the youngster's imagination is in overdrive. A forest grows all around him. Liam hears the snip-snap of twigs and then, "ROAWR!" He gathers his supplies—including the cake—and creeps into the wild.

Kimmel, Haven. Kaline Klattermaster’s Tree House. Atheneum, 2008. 152 p.Gr. 3-5.
Kaline Klattermaster loves his mom, but his mom can be, well, a bit forgetful sometimes. A bit lax, a bit...crazy. So it's a very good thing that the folks in Kaline's tree house are not so crazy. They understand him. They don't mind that he sometimes has to play his pretend bugle, and, of course, they know how to handle bullies. His mom hints that the tree house is imaginary. Kaline is unconvinced.

Kvasnosky, Laura McGee. Really Truly Bingo. Candlewick, 2008. 32 p. 5-7 yrs.
Barefoot, tiara-sporting Beatrice is bored. Her mother, too busy to play Princess Yolanda, tells her to go outside. When Bea protests that "there's nothing to play", her mother tells her to use her imagination. In the garden, Beatrice meets a talking dog who wastes no time in getting her into loads of messy fun.

Leavitt, Martine. Heck, Superhero. Front Street, 2004. 144 p. Gr. 5-8.
When life stops making sense, 13-year-old Heck retreats into his drawings. A talented artist, he creates powerful superheroes that save the world with one good deed--just like Heck wants to be able to do. However, when his mother, who is prone to depression, disappears, leaving him homeless, penniless, and with an intense toothache, Heck must face the world in a way he never has before—truthfully.

MacDonald, Ross. Bad Baby. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2005. 32 p. 5-8 yrs.
Something is missing from Jack’s perfect life, but his initial longing and then enthusiasm for someone to play with quickly fades as the wee tiny baby grows and grows to such a size that Jack (the man) can be squashed under her palm.

Nix, Garth. Drowned Wednesday.Scholastic, 2005. 389 p. Gr. 5-8.
In this third of seven planned installments, each set on a successive day of a single week, Arthur Penhaligon is summoned from his hospital bed by Lady Wednesday, who has metamorphosed into a 126-mile-long whale. Burdened with asthma, a broken leg, and still-fresh shock at how inextricably his fate is tied to the House (the "epicenter of the Universe"), Arthur plies the Border Sea in search of the Third Part of the Will and claim the Third Key.

Ormerod, Jan. Lizzie Nonsense. Clarion, 2005. 32 p. 4-7 yrs.
Lizzie lives with her mother, father, and baby brother in a small, isolated house in the Australian bush. Her father has taken his sandalwood into town to sell and will be gone for weeks. Lizzie passes the lonely days by indulging in flights of fancy, turning a fallen tree trunk into a mighty steed, baby's bath into the wide blue sea, and her clutch of wildflowers into a bridal bouquet.

Paeony, Lewis. No More Cookies; illustrated by Brita Granström. Chicken House/Scholastic, 2005. 32 p. 3-6 yrs.
When Florence eats an entire tin of cookies, her mother tells her that she has to wait one week before she's allowed to have another one. The child tries to explain that her toy monkey, Arnold, ate some, too, but her mother holds firm. Florence, however, has a sweet tooth and stops at nothing for her sugar fix pretending to be the tooth fairy, a witch, and a nurse—all who need cookies. Will her mother fold?

Paterson, John & Katherine. Blueberries for the Queen; illustrated by Susan Jeffers. HarperCollins, 2004. 32 p. 6-9 yrs.
In the summer of 1942, William learns that World War II has forced Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to move to an estate near his New England home. He longs to see a real queen and fanaticizes about meeting her, but his only sighting is a glimpse of her limousine. When he decides to be neighborly and take her a basket of fresh-picked blueberries, he finds himself presenting the berries to the queen herself.

Pose, Francine. Leopold, the Liar of Leipzig; illustrated by Einav Aviram, Cotler/HarperCollins, 2005. 32 p. 4-7 yrs.
Everyone loves Leopold, who holds court at the Leipzig zoo on Sunday afternoons and tells fantastic tales of faraway places. One day, a learned professor comes to town and gives a lecture on the real places he has been. Everyone is bored and either leaves or falls asleep. The indignant Doctor Morgenfresser shouts, “Your Leopold is a liar!” and has him hauled off to jail.

Rohmann, Eric. Clara and Asha. Roaring Brook, 2005. 32 p. 4-6 yrs.
The tale opens at Clara's bedtime, when an enormous fish glides through her window. The creature is an acquaintance from a sculpture in the park. Ensuing scenes depict Clara and Asha playing ball, stalling during bath time, and coordinating costumes at Halloween.

Sanders-Wells, Linda. Maggie’s Monkeys; illustrated by Abby Carter. Candlewick, 2009. 26 p. 5-9 yrs.
A family of monkeys has moved into the refrigerator! At least, that’s what Maggie says. Of course, no one else can see them, but that doesn’t stop Mom and Dad from playing along, even going out of their way to accommodate the invisible visitors. An extra bowl of pudding at the table? A DO NOT DISTURB sign on the fridge? What’s a frustrated, reality obsessed big brother to do?

Shannon, David. Alice the Fairy. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2004. 40 p. 4-7 yrs.
Alice speaks for herself, claiming she can fly (not too high but really fast), can change her dad into a horse (for a horsey ride), can make herself disappear (by flicking off the light switch with her wand), and can turn oatmeal into cake by pouring on fairy dust (sugar). There are elements of danger, such as broccoli poisoned by the wicked Duchess (Mom) and baths (fairies hate baths), as well as mischief and mishaps.

Shea, Bob. Big Plans. Hyperion, 2008. 42 p. 7-10 yrs.
A boy sits in a corner of his empty classroom, his misdeeds recorded on the blackboard, plotting his future. He’s got plans…and have you hear? They’re BIG. With the help of a mynah bird and a lucky stinky hat, he’ll find a quarter…boss around some muckety-mucks…become a mayor—or even then president!

Shulevitz, Uri. How I Learned Geography. Farrar, 2008. 32 p. 5-8 yrs.
A small boy and his parents flee Poland in 1939.. When the narrator's father returns from the bazaar with a huge map instead of bread to feed his starving family, his wife and son are furious. But the map turns out to provide food for his spirit as the youngster becomes fascinated by its every detail. Using his imagination, he can transport himself to all of the exotic-sounding places on it without ever leaving the dreary room in which it hangs.

Wiesner, David. Flotsam. Clarion, 2006. 40 p. Gr. 2-5.
A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.

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