When I talk about Creating a Beautiful Mess in book stores or libraries, it’s fun to use familiar characters from well-loved children’s books to demonstrate the ten essential play experiences. In fact, I’ll be giving just such a talk next week, on Thursday, January 14 at 6 pm, at The Book Cellar in Chicago.


Here’s a sneak peek at just a few of the children’s book characters I’ll be inviting to come with me…


Building with Blocks

Iggy Peck is the eponymous hero of Iggy Peck, Architect written by Andrea Beatty and illustrated by David Roberts. Iggy knows there’s much to be learned from construction play. Iggy demonstrates one of the important ideas from Creating a Beautiful Mess — that blocks and LEGOs are not the only materials children enjoy using for building. Iggy, for example, builds structures using apples, wood, chalk, even dirty diapers!

Pretending and Make-Believe

Max, from Maurice Sendak’s classic picture book, Where the Wild Things Are, travels from his ordinary bedroom to a fantastical land where monsters romp and roar. In Chapter 2 of Creating a Beautiful Mess, I describe the ways children’s healthy development is enhanced by pretend play, especially when children, like Sendak’s Max, are able to imagine worlds that are extraordinarily different from their immediate surroundings. Sendak’s illustrations beautifully demonstrate how these magical transformation can happen inside a child’s head: “That very night in Max’s room a forest grew and grew – and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around…”

Iggy and Max are just two of the children’s book characters I’ll be using to demonstrate the ideas and activities from Creating a Beautiful Mess. Hope to see you there!



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