The box play that replaced the blocks play in the building nook reminded me of one of our very favorite books, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. In this book, a bunny is seen standing on a box, sitting in a box, and even wearing a box. When asked what he's doing with that box, he insists, "It's not a box" - it's a mountain, a racecar, and a robot! The repetitive text makes it a fun book for young children who can "read" it themselves, and the simple line drawings lend themselves to encouraging children can draw their own Not-A-Boxes. Another book by Antoinette Portis, Not a Stick, follows a similar story in which a pig turns a stick into a horse, a paintbrush (which he uses to paint The Starry Night by vanGogh), and a bandleader's baton, among other things.
A book we just discovered goes along with this theme - The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer. A young Asian girl who sees a string on the sidewalk while out on a walk with her teacher and classmates imagines that it could be a dragon, a great wall, fireworks, or the rise of a full moon. She shares her idea with the others, who join in the fun of making the string into all sorts of exciting things. The illustrations in this book are also simple, but colorful and have the feel of watercolor or even calligraphy.