Think Big [Book Review]

What do you do when your child says ‘I’m bored’? If you’re like me you might say: “Go outside” or “Play with your sister/brother” or “Play with your [insert latest toy]” or my favourite “Go make something”!

I’m a true believer that if you leave children to work through their feelings of boredom they come up with some really fun and inventive ways to spend their time. But sometimes they need some extra help getting there. To get from ‘bored’ to ‘engaged’ requires inspiration to strike. THINK BIG is simple book that does just that – it sparks the imagination.

With few words (only a couple words per page), this charming book inspires us to get creative in any number of ways: paint, dance, sing, cook, play music, perform, brainstorm, sew, knit, build…

Once fun creative ideas are suggested the following carefully chosen words empower the reader (or listener) to think on their own:

“No thought

Too great

You think

We’ll wait…


This book opens us to a world of possibility for finding joy through many art forms available to us and acknowledges the need for a “brave heart” to make it happen.

I highly recommended this easy read for children of all ages to inspire us all to THINK BIG.

Next time your faced with boredom in your home connect with your child through a story like this one and enjoy the thinking that unfolds.

Published by Scholastic Inc.

*This is the first of a series where I will review books that inspire creativity or highlight a creativity skill that you can share and encourage in your child.*

Please share this post and comment below. What books you’ve read lately that have inspired your creativity?


Book Review 005: Emily’s Art

Evaluating art is a dicey topic – particularly in relation to how teachers evaluate and assess the visual arts in elementary school classrooms and how that affects our children. Peter Catalanotto’s book Emily’s Art covers this subject appropriately by illustrating a story of a young inspired artist encounter a less than inspiring art contest experience.

The short story before the story sets the stage for what is about to happen.  The appropriately named teacher, Ms. Fair asks “Can anyone tell me what a contest is?” After a few guesses it’s agreed that a contest  is “to see who is the best”. Then it is announced that the school is having an art contest in which there will be prize ribbons to the best painting in each grade. The teacher goes on to explain that a judge will decide the winners based on which she thinks is the best. One of my favourite lines in the book is: “If I lose the art contest will the judge put me in jail?” But even better might be the line: “No, of course not. Losing an art contest does not make you a bad person… just a bad artist.”

Emily’s story is compelling and heart breaking. The principal’s mother is brought in to judge the art work. She justifies her qualifications by declaring “My cousin is married to an artist” – hilarious! She falls in love with Emily’s painting until she learns it’s a dog (not a beautiful rabbit as she thought) and proceeds to dismiss the art based on a bad experience she had with a dog!

When you consider all of the little kids out there that have been turned off of art because they don’t think they’re good enough or that their painting of a tree doesn’t look like a realist representation of a tree, it’s really sad.

This is most definitely a story worth sharing with your kids. My library copy is overdue. I most definitely will be buying this book for our collection.

I’ll leave with Catalanotto’s dedication which I just love: For all children who paint with their hearts.