Imagine - Patricia Forde, ill. by Elina Braslina
Updated: Jul 13
UPDATED FOR BLOG TOUR STOP 13th JULY 2021 - new content from author, Patricia Forde at bottom of review.
This is a delightful picture book looking at the fears and worries of a little girl, and her wonderful granny's answers to them. From spooky ghosts vanquished by the thought of them wearing hats and eating ice-cream, fears are mooted then banished on the next page in creative ways that make the reader laugh out loud along with the girl as she realises things aren't quite so scary when granny is there. Even the biggest fear of all - granny not being there one day - is dealt with in a careful, thoughtful manner that will reassure those younger readers who may share such concerns.
A lovely book to read and discuss, beautifully illustrated with lively, funny images throughout from Elina Braslina. this would make a perfect read at this time of year for children with anxieties around starting school or moving classes/transition. A great activity to use might be to get children to answer the question: What would you dress your fears up as?
I'm thrilled to have been asked by Little Island to take part in the blogtour for Imagine, and to be able to share this exclusive content from author, Patricia, on whatiread in this updated post - thank you!
The Power of imagination in Childhood
They despaired of me at school. I was the one who always lost her locker key, put her Geography notes in her English copy and never had a timetable. I know now it was because I was rarely present. I mean I was present in body – but not in mind.
My undisciplined imagination was always there, bags packed, and ready to head off. As the teacher droned on about the Amazon, I was imagining myself as a princess of a forgotten tribe and plotting adventures for my new character with great enthusiasm.
It started when I was very young. Every night, my five sisters and I took turns washing the dishes after dinner. It was a boring job, but my imagination soon had me seeing the cutlery as families. The tea-spoons were the babies and the knives and forks their parents. The soup spoons and dessert spoons were fond uncles and aunts that came to visit. Soon, I had an entire world going on in my head, and when my sisters ran off to see the latest episode of The Fugitive, I stayed playing the families who lived in the kitchen drawers.
During the summer months we would play at being in school and I taught my younger siblings to sew using a leaf and a thorn. I was a hard task-master, and only very neat rows of tiny holes along the edge of the leaf were acceptable.
We played constantly. As we got older television and film, as well as books, were a huge influence. In our house, as soon as a television programme finished we ‘played’ it. The Sound of Music gave us material that seemed to last for years. We lived in Market Street in the heart of Galway city, and at the age of ten, my friend Muriel and I were in demand as babysitters during the long summer holidays. We went from house to house gathering up any stray children so that they could play the parts of the various Von Trapp children and Muriel and I could play Captain Von Trapp and Maria respectively. After that, all you needed was a tin whistle with which to drill the reluctant Von Trapps and a packet of Custard Creams to stop them from running back home.
As a teenager, I developed a serious eye complaint that landed me in hospital for weeks on end. Books and imagination got me through. I remember visiting Kenny’s Bookshop at the time and Mrs Kenny assuring me that you could never be lonely if you had a book. When the eye condition stopped me from reading, I made up stories in my head. Little did I know that I was serving an apprenticeship that would allow me to make a career from the thing I loved most – books.
Today, I am passionate about the power of imagination and how books can be a portal to that magical place if you let them. Every child has a right to read and to daydream. It is our duty as adults to give them the space to live more than one life and be more than one person. You can do that if you are a reader. As a writer, I aim to enable all the doodlers and dawdlers, the daydreamers and wool-gatherers – the kind of child that schools despair of. That was my intention in writing Imagine using imagination to offer comfort and reassurance.
Someone else will have to tell them where the Amazon is!
Thanks to Little Island for the review copy of this book and for inviting me on the blogtour - look them up at https://littleisland.ie/ or follow them on Twitter: @LittleIslandBks
Thanks also to uthor Patricia Forde for the beautiful content and important message about creativity! Follow her on Twitter as @PatriciaForde1 and her website is patriciaforde.ie
Illustrator Elina Braslina is on Twitter as @elinabraslina and her website is elinabraslina.com
Review by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot on Twitter and Instagram) February 2021