There is a lot written about creativity these days. It seems that everywhere I turn, there’s a new theory about what inspires creativity in children and how important it is to nurture their creative spirits. On websites and in publications for teachers, “creativity” is the buzzword of the moment, and many of the articles I read make me feel more overwhelmed by the growing number of ideas and books and programs that will “spark” creativity. Some of the ads directed toward people who purchase books appeal to an educator’s genuine desire to do the right thing: “If you want your students to be creative, this is the book.” That kind of message sends me running the other way. I want the kids to have genuine experiences with books that inspire creativity and curiosity and delight because the book is good.
I found one today. I’m not certain about many things, but I am relatively sure that Fish On A Walk by Eva Muggenthaler will inspire creativity and lots of other wonderful things. Muggenthaler’s book is different from most picture books. It’s not a story – it’s a series of pictures. Under each picture are two words. That’s it. One picture is of a frightened looking little rabbit on a stage and hiding behind his very large cello. There is an audience that includes the rabbit’s parents. The two words on the page are: Scared and Brave. I even found myself thinking of all the directions this story could take. By the time I reached the last page of the book, thirty minutes had passed and my mind was spinning with the ways I can use this book at school. It could be used in oral storytelling or with writing short stories or with a lesson on how pictures generate emotion and meaning. There are probably lots of other “creative” ways to use it. And I’m certain the students will have a few ideas.
I love this book.