Review by Joey Madia
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Human beings have always been Starwatchers. Skygazers. From stone calendars like Stonehenge to elaborate cosmologies and creation mythologies involving the Moon and Sun to the personification of the constellations as humans and animals, humankind has been fascinated with the Sky from the very start of our journey here on Earth. Pictographs in ancient caves are the first Sky Stories. The procession of the constellations marked the cycles of both agriculture and religion, giving birth to countless rituals and traditions.
There is also a fascination with the Sky at work in the lives of Dreamers and Visionaries. A child who is labeled one or the other is also referred to as a Skylarker, and, sad to say, in the traditional education system, it is rarely complimentary.
I was one of those dreaming, visionary Skylarkers all the way through school and now people pay me—quite well—to skylark for and with them as a writer, actor, director, and story analyst. The night sky fascinates me, and the monuments, stories, and glyphs that explore and celebrate it are among the most interesting areas of study for me. I have even had encounters with UAPs and possible alien contact.
The Sky is an endless source of possibility. Look at the time and money billionaires like Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow are spending trying to get there consistently. To one day LIVE there. William Shatner’s recent trip to space was very big news for several days.
As expressed by another billionaire, Richard Branson, during his recent trip to the outer atmosphere, at the root of all of this is Imagination. That is the subject of George Yuhasz’s engaging children’s book, Imagine That.
At the center of the story, beautifully illustrated with just a touch of whimsy by Egle Bartolini, is Evelyn—a curious and energetic fifth or sixth grader with a penchant for stargazing and being in nature.
As often happens, when Evelyn sees strange lights in the sky (in a different type of story it could be a shadow in the corner of the bedroom) her father, as kind and well meaning as he is, dismisses it and urges her on to bedtime. Thankfully—and crucial to the story—Evelyn commits to discovering what the lights in the sky might be.
When I first encountered Imagine That, my mind was abuzz with what those strange lights could be… Aliens? Angels? Next-generation low-orbit satellites? I knew it wasn’t swamp gas, temperature inversions, or Chinese lanterns—the kind of bunk the USAF feeds us every day about strange lights in the sky. I was delighted with what I found out, and I don’t want to spoil it for you. Not in the least. I will only say that Evelyn—who wishes to be a teacher when she gets older—has her Dreams and Imagination valued and supported by something Wonderful, which is the key message of this book.
During a scene when she closes her eyes and “flies” like a “bird” I recalled Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda and a perhaps the hair-splitting but important question that my encounter with them provoked. If you believe you are the bird, that you are truly flying, are you?
Imagine That provokes these kinds of questions. It also touches on what Yuhasz terms The Silence—those who meditate or use other means to still their mind to allow peace to come and Imagination to flow will be well acquainted with this concept. It is a lovely way to talk with children about the importance of a still, peaceful mind, and how it feeds and strengthens our Imagination.
The final pages of Imagine That hint to us that, harkening back to the bird and flight, using our Imagination doesn’t mean that we cannot Manifest what we Imagine. Indeed—Manifestation is the very point.
TITLE: Imagine That: The Magic of the Mysterious Lights
AUJTOR: George Yuhasz
Illustrated by Egle Bartolini
PUBLISHER: Outskirts Press, 2019