Monday, 10 February 2020

Three picture books that make you fizz with ideas - Jane Clarke

This time of year, I’m a frequent visitor to schools. I love to help enthuse and inspire the 4-11 year olds, and help them to come up with their own ideas for stories and poems. I often show them a picture book as a springboard.

Here are my top three picture books for making a class of kids (and me) fizz with ideas. If you don’t know them, take a look, I’m sure they will inspire you, too:

Tell me a Dragon by Jackie Morris (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

A gorgeous, poetic book. What would your dragon be, and how would you look after it?

Even the hatching-egg end papers are inspirational

I hadn’t realised before I looked it up today that Pie Corbett has created some great teachers notes on using this book, so instead of blathering on about what I do, I will refer you to an expert:

Things that are the most in the world by Judi Barrett, illustrated by John Nickle (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

This is crazy, silly, surreal - and lots of fun!

Get the youngest kids to try it with colours and the older ones with emotions/feelings (happiest, saddest, most grumpy/loving/jealous/angry etc). Try it yourself with different sorts of weather, atmosphere, settings, food, textures, movements. 

My non-fiction choice is

Uneversaurus by Professor Potts (David Fickling Books)


Discover a new dinosaur and bring it to life. Keep it ‘real’ or go silly by mixing dinosaurs with other creatures (like an Octo-saur or a Dog-o-don) emotions, (Happysaurus, Grumpysaurus etc) what they eat (e.g. Sausagesaurus, Book-o-saur). 

If you’re hoping to inspire the small person in your life - a special mention for the You Choose books by Picture Book Den’s very own Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Nick Sharratt. They are packed with inspirational ideas for kids.  The only reason that the first You Choose is not in my top 3 is that it’s harder to share with a class, whereas all the others have  illustrations that are big, bold and easy-to-see-from-a-distance.


I’d love to hear about other books that make you fizz with ideas!

Jane’s thrilled to be able to let you know that she's just agreed a deal with Walker Books for her next picture book - and is delighted to have these 3 new editions of picture books out in Feb 2020: a paperback edition of Leap frog, illustrated by Btitta Teckentrup and board book editions of Neon Leon, also illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, and Old Macdonald's Things That Go, illustrated by Migy Blanco.

1 comment:

Pippa Goodhart said...

Thank you for including You Choose! I don't know any of those other three books, but will search them out. What rich and lovely starting points for story ideas and discussion.