What If?


I remember learning the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling when I was in school;
so when a children’s book with the title If by Sarah Perry was returned the other day, I put it aside to look at later.

Much to my delight I found that the book was not a child’s version of the poem I loved, instead it was a magical look at “IFS” or possibilities when you let your imagination roam free.
The author, Sarah Perry, imagines Ifs…such as: “If fish were leaves…then illustrates the thought, fish becoming leaves on a branch.”

Some of my favorites were

  • “If frogs ate rainbows…imagine a frog eating a rainbow the pouch under its chin lighting up
    with the rainbow colors just swallowed.”
  • “If dogs were mountains…dogs resting their heads on their paws causing a slope that rises behind them like mountains.”
  • “If ugly were beautiful…shows a warthog wearing a tiara.”
  • “If ants could count…has a line of ants forming the number 8.”
  • If spiders could read braille…imagine how fast a spider would scramble across the page, each leg searching for the next word.”
  • “If hummingbirds told secrets…has a hummer buzzing something into a chimpanzees ear.
    I’ve had close encounters with Hummingbirds like this; but they never told me anything!”
  • “If Zebras had stars and stripes…I think you can picture this one on your own.”
  • “The final IF in the book reads. “If this is the end…Then dream up some more!”

One of the reviews I read suggested that teachers read/show the book to the whole class then ask the students to imagine and depict their own IFS.
I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise in imagination, give it a try.
Oh…and in case you forgot about Rudyard’s famous “If” poem, you can find it in the anthology, Kipling, a Selection of his Stories and Poems.
posted by Jeanette

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