Book Review: One Day I Went Rambling

Author: Kelly Bennett
Illustrator: Terri Murphy
Publisher: Bright Sky Press (April 28, 2012)
Audience: Ages 4 to 7
Source: Copy for Review
Fiction * Picture Book * Imagination * Creativity

Description from GoodReads:
When Zane goes rambling, his friends call him crazy and refuse to play along. When he finds a shining star, it doesn't bother him when his friends try to tell him it's just a hubcap. Undaunted, Zane uses his finds to create a secret project that piques his friends' curiosity. After watching him ramble around the neighborhood, finding magic in the ordinary, his friends are eventually drawn into his imaginative game. Through the book's art, attentive readers will see that Zane is using his finds to create a pirate ship, and once his friends realize what he's up to, even the most skeptical realists join the fun and sail the afternoon away. Zane's imagination sees the cowpoke's lasso in a piece of vine, the pirate's golden ring in an old pop top, and many other treasures that have been stolen from today's children by electronic entertainment. Rambling enforces the joy of imaginative play.

My thoughts on the book:
In many ways, I envy the Zanes of the world.  They are able to see beyond the surface to what something can become rather than what it is/was.  In Kelly Bennett's newest picture book Zane is "rambling" through the neighborhood picking up things that he can find.  In his mind these items are not just pop tops or hubcabs but the making for so much more.  His friends are skeptical and already have begun to lose some of the natural inquisitiveness and imagination that children naturally have.  However, over time, and thanks to Zane's influence, his friends re-discover their own treasures and their imaginations ignite with adventure.  In the end, the children under Zane's direction have created a pirate's ship with their findings and set off to explore the world of creativity.

One Day I Went Rambling is a good reminder of the importance of play and exploration to learning.  When young children continue to be curious, their ability to understand the world and how things work together grows.  Additionally, their ability to apply what they are learning also grows.  As teachers, parents, caregivers, or librarians, we need to continue to foster play and curiosity and to celebrate the Zanes we have in our classrooms and our lives and allow them to influence those around them.  

Terri Murphy's colorful illustrations capture the emotions, and curiosity of Bennett's characters.  I enjoyed her use of grayscale and black & white for portions of the pages as Zane's friends counter his declarations of what items can be rather than what they are.  This fades out and pages become full color as the others join in on the fun.

One Day I Went Rambling would make a fun read aloud to spark children's imagination or to use to prime children for an activity that requires them to go beyond seeing things for just how they are.     

For more information about Kelly Bennett: website | blog