except if - a book to fuel the imagination

 Albert Einstein is quoted as saying
Imagination is more important than knowledge. 

Since Mr. Einstein was one smart cookie, it behooves me to nurture, feed, and encourage a fine and healthy imagination in each of my students.  

A sense of wonder.

A what if ... ?

An except if. ... ?

Jim Averbeck, the author and illustrator of Except If   has a fines sense of fun and a  flourishing imagination.

the book info
published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
January 2011
40 pages 
themes: play, imagination
excellent for children 3 - 6

The story begins:
In the beginning, there is an egg.
Which may become a baby bird, except if it becomes a snake instead.

The story journeys from there to a lizard,  a dinosaur, a fossil, and finally to a nest that cradles an egg ... that might be a baby bird.

The book description states:  This young, clever and whimsical picture book in the spirit of Not a Box and First the Egg, an egg is not just an egg, but a symbol of the potential a child's imagination holds. As each image melds smoothly but unexpectedly to the next, readers are invited to stretch the limits of their imaginations.

I love this book because each word is necessary and perfect (even if it is one long run on sentence). It is pared down to the essential.  The illustrations are simple and gently bold.  And it is fine food for the imagination. 

I think that life would be so incredibly dull without a finely tuned imagination.

I find that I have fewer and fewer "specific use" toys in my classroom.  Some of our most used toys are versatile, inexpensive and leave a lot of scope for the imagination.

source: Ontario Farm Girl  



thrift shop trays and bowls

tree blocks

thrift shop sheets cut into various sizes

Dr. Mira Reisberg reads What If and chats about what makes it so good.

This post is linked up with Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday.  


  1. Well, I'm pinning yet another book. It would be fun to have the kids draw pics of what they think is in the egg.
    I agree with you and Einstein :) about the importance of imagination. It's funny to see how some kids have lots and others not so much.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  2. I am a big fan of Jim's books and this is no exception! Kids hang on the possibilities in this one! I do like the 'toys' gathered in your classroom!

  3. I also have been travelling that same road. Is it because we see the need in our learning environments to foster creative and imaginative play more as we teach self regulation?

    Liz :)

  4. Interesting book. Would love to hear what kids think is inside an egg...lol. Loved the pics you have posted here too.

  5. This is a cute and fun book. Glad you reviewed it for PPBF!

    - Cathy Mealey

  6. This book looks like a real treasure. I love watching young children and their rich imaginations. Mine recently found some tissue paper tucked under the couch cushions and decided it was papyrus. Then they made each other into mummies.

  7. This looks like an exciting book! I'll have to check it out, except if it's not at my library!

  8. I am definitely checking this one out! I love the whole concept!


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