WHAT IF…? THEN WE… -Perfect Picture Book Friday/Blog Tour

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Title:  WHAT IF…? THEN WE…

Author: Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Illustrator: Fred Koehler

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2019,

 Ages: 4-8

Themes: consequences, imagination, friendship, adventure


We got lost far, far, far away, and couldn’t find our way home.


Two polar bear friends have a thrilling adventure as they imagine solutions to a variety of possible situations; their story will show readers how to create their own tales in response to the question “What if…?” in this ingenious picture book.

“What if . . . we got lost far, far, far away, and couldn’t find our way home? Then we would become the bravest explorers in the world.” So begin the adventures of two intrepid polar bears. Traveling on a ship imagined from an iceberg, the bears encounter magnificent sights and scary situations. When a city made of crayons melts, the bears use pencils to create a beautiful gray world. When all the words in the universe disappear, the bears invent their own language. When something really big and really scary happens, they whistle and hold hands until it’s not as big or scary anymore. And when they find their way back home, they’re ready to imagine a thousand more possibilities. This companion title to the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book One Day, The End. is ultimately a book about imagination, friendship, and finding possibilities in the smallest moments. (Publisher)

Why I like this book:

This companion title to the One Day, The End is a story about friendship, and bonding through small seemingly insignificant moments of imaginative play. The narrative is simple, and Koehler illustrates the imaginative storytelling with vibrant colors and endearing characters. Both the author and illustrator excel in capturing a child’s endless capacity to create. And this book should inspire lots of brave new imaginary worlds. I certainly wanted to go on an Arctic adventure after reading it!

© Fred Koehler


© Fred Koehler


This book is the perfect writing prompt. In pairs, have students create their own “what if?” scenarios, starting with the opening here. This can be either created visually or in text or both.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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2 Responses to WHAT IF…? THEN WE… -Perfect Picture Book Friday/Blog Tour

  1. Love this imaginative book with its playful and happy illustrations. Enjoyed your suggestions for using this book with children. I think kids will have fun reading this arctic adventure.

  2. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    It also sounds like it’s a great book for showing how imagination finds solutions to problems. A nice addition!

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