When a note came home from school that the annual reading event’s theme was “Re-Imagined”, I hit our bookshelves to find a few perfect books. Every year I send a book to school with each of my kids to share with the class. Here are some re-imagined children’s books and books filled with imagination that I found.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the disclosure for more info.
Table of Contents
Board Books to Spark Imagination
With my youngest now in second grade we’ve gotten rid of many of our board books, but a few are really hard to part with, especially ones that really stimulate your imagination!
1. Baby Beluga
“Baby ‘Luga” was my oldest’s favourite song for about a year when she was 2 or 3. She’d sing herself to sleep with it and thinking back to the tune coming over the baby monitor still brings a smile to my face. This “reimagined” book is the song put down in writing. (P.S. Raffi is Canadian!)
Purchase your copy from Amazon.ca.
2. The Very Noisy Bear
Ever tried to find the perfect instrument for a bear to play? The forest creatures are jamming out when The Very Cranky Bear comes along, so they invite him to join in. The author’s imagination runs wild and the results are guaranteed to generate giggles.
Purchase your copy from Amazon.ca.
3. Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me
Move over The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this is our family’s favourite Eric Carle (though Brown Bear is up there, too). From his unique art style, to all the interactive bits, this book re-imagines the reading experience – and our relationship with the moon!
Purchase your copy on Amazon.ca.
Imagination-Filled Read-Aloud Books
By far my favourite kind of kid book, these read aloud books are full of creativity and stimulate kids’ imagination.
4. Robert Munsch & Mud Puddle
Mud Puddle isn’t one of Robert Munsch’s most popular books, but the creative explanation for how Jule Ann is covered in mud every time she goes outside is great! Warning: you won’t stop with just one Munsch book. (Fun fact: Munsch is Canadian and did most of his writing while living in a smaller city in southern Ontario.)
Find Robert Munsch on Amazon.ca.
5. The Questioneers series
Re-imagine social norms with Andrea Beaty’s incredible series of books. These kids break convention and overcome obstacles in inspiring ways.
There are several series within the arc – in addition to the classic picture books, there are chapter books, The Why Files Series, Ada Twist, Scientist Series, and the Big Project series.
Find them all on Amazon.ca.
6. Raising Dragons
Life on the farm is boring – until the young narrator hatches a baby dragon! “Hank” helps with farm life and imagination soars in this unique book with some great representation.
Find your copy on Amazon.ca.
7. The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales
When I heard the theme for Read-In Week was “re-imagined” I immediately thought of The Stinky Cheese Man. I’ve had this book since I was in elementary school. This collection of re-invented fairy tales is a bit crude, and will be perfect for a read-aloud with older kids (the jokes may go over younger kids’ heads).
Pick up a laugh-out-loud copy that will last the decades on Amazon.ca.
8. Traction Man
Inspire your kids to get creative with their toys with Traction Man! The creative adventures this character goes on are so imaginative, I always notice a change in play after reading this with the kids.
Grab the first book in the series on Amazon.ca.
9. Where the Wild Things Are
Max is being a monster and was sent to bed without supper. Read along as he re-imagines his bedroom into the land where the Wild Things are, and he becomes their king.
Find your copy of this classic on Amazon.ca.
10. Be a Star, Wonder Woman
Sometimes we need to pretend to be someone else to do hard things. It may not be the best coping mechanism as an adult, but on your first day at school, the main character channels her favourite super hero to find courage.
Reimagine your way out fear with Be a Star, Wonder Woman from Amazon.ca.
11. Wynken, Blynken and Nod
Saskatchewan-based children’s entertainer Fred Penner first introduced me to this story on his The Cat Came Back album (if you aren’t familiar with Fred Penner and still listen to kids music look him up! You can sometimes find his early ’90s children’s show on YouTube or CBC Gem, too).
Whether you read or sing, this creative tale re-imagines a “wee one’s trundle bed” into a night sky fishing boat.
Pick up your copy on Amazon.ca.
12. Skippyjon Jones
This wacky kitten is SO much fun to read! Discover the rambunctious Skippyjon Jones, the Siamese kitty boy with an overactive imagination. He would rather be El Skippito, the great sword fighter, and friend of the Chimichango chihuahua gang.
Find a wide selection of Skippyjon Jones books on Amazon.ca.
Imaginative Books for Independent Readers
My kids are getting bigger and we’ve started to replace several short books a day with one longer book over several days. They can also read independently, so some of these are great for solo reading time, too.
13. Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie
This old, tattered book was well read when I was a kid, and continues to be a favourite. The kids and I are able to recite several of the poems from memory. Bonus: Lee is a Canadian author, based in Toronto.
Pick up a copy of Lee’s collected works from Amazon.ca.
14. Animalia by Graeme Base
Anything by Graeme Base is sure to get your imagination turning. The incredible stories are only surpassed by the stunning art work. Base hides so many little details in all of his books.
Animalia was my first introduction to the author/illustrator, and is one of the least story-based of his books. It’s great for the kids to pick up on their own and flip through. There is a “where’s Waldo” like character on each page, and it’s fun for the kids to try and name all the alphabet themed creatures and objects on each page.
Find a selection of Graeme Base books on Amazon.ca and pick one (or three) to add to your home library!
I received a collection of four Winnie-the-Pooh books as a toddler that we still read. Many of the newer Pooh books are more entertaining, but this is the classic. Enjoy the tales of a little boy’s stuffed animals’ adventures.
A.A. Milne works timeless lessons into the 1926 classic, and it’s sequels. The biggest challenge with the original books is a lack of pictures when the kids are small, and, well, it’s Winnie the Pooh when they’re big.
Add this classic of imagination with a box set of all six books.
16. Anne of Green Gables
Isn’t Anne every Canadian girl’s favourite literary character for a period time? I’ve let my daughter read this on her own. It’s fun to watch it spark her imagination the way I remember happening myself.
The first four books are available in this affordable box set to get you started!
17. Augie and the Green Knight
My daughter was gifted this book from her godfather and it is pure, re-imagined King Arthur gold. Written by the creator of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal webcomic as an attempt to give his daughter a book “about little girls who are smart, and scientific, and (here’s the crucial thing) risk-taking.”
Initially launched on Kickstarter, you can now buy this must-have book on Amazon.ca.
18. Phoebe and Her Unicorn
Re-imagine the unicorn world with this brilliant series of web-comics turned coloured comic book. (I won’t call these ones graphic novels because it’s more like comic books from our childhood where the plot line only vaguely winds its way through the book.)
I rarely enjoy reading comics with the kids, but this one regularly makes the ’90s kid in me laugh, and the kids equally enjoy it (even if some jokes go right over their head).
There have been so many incredible books published over the years. A few “re-imagined” tales that I either don’t have on my shelf or aren’t great read-aloud books include:
- Giraffes Can’t Dance (board book)
- Good Night, Gorilla (board book)
- The Book with No Pictures (a “not” picture book)
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (picture book)
- Where’s Waldo (look-and-find books)
- Ella Enchanted (ages 8+)
- The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (ages 13+)
Can you make this article better?
We’re always looking to improve! Have you noticed a spelling or information error, know of something we left out, or would like to share anything else, reach out to us!