In Berliner’s debut children’s book, a little imagination goes a long way when a boy envisions combinations of different animals.
Dinosaurs may be crazy creatures for kids to imagine, but what happens when they let their imaginations run wild and create new animals of their own? This book, which includes a brief introduction by actress Florence Henderson, shows a boy envisioning a combination of an octopus and a monkey: “an eight-legged beastie in a tree by the sea.” He then pictures a rabbit and an owl merging into a creature with “[b]ig ears, big eyes, fluffy tail in the sky.” The colorful book continues through other unusual pairings, until the boy finally imagines a combination that produces a real-life platypus. Berliner, who designs scenery and costumes for plays, musicals, and film, television and dance productions, knows the importance of visuals, and here, the illustrations are just as important as the text. Each animal gets a page of its own; the true-life animal portraits are realistic, and the fictional, combined animals are fanciful and fun. The rhyming text has a singsong quality that fits with the lighthearted premise. The book creates a game that’s easy to replicate, which may make it suitable for an elementary school classroom. Of course, creativity and imagination are more than just good fun, as Berliner writes in the conclusion: “The boy’s name is Art….Art is named after a subject that was once always taught to students in the public school system along with ‘reading, writing and arithmetic.’ ” It’s a clear reminder that imagination is just as necessary to kids’ development as reading and math.
A well-illustrated story that encourages kids to use their imaginations.