Tag Archive: shapes


windblown

Windblown by Édouard Manceau

Scraps of paper blow across the page, first one then several appear.  But what are they and whose are they?  First the chicken insists they are his since he found them.  Then the fish says that he cut them from the paper.  Then the bird, the snail and the frog explain that they are theirs as well.  Each animal fits them to their body to demonstrate why they belong to them.  Then the wind itself speaks about blowing the pieces around and offers them to the reader, “What will you do?” 

Superbly simple and entirely engaging, readers will be playing along with the book before they even open the pages.  Manceau has cleverly selected shapes that fit together in many different ways.  He demonstrates this over and over again, then turns it all over to the reader to continue. 

This is also a book that would make a great art project for little ones.  Share the book, then give each child the pieces shown in the story to make their own picture.  An ideal way to end a creative story time.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

round is a tortilla

Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra

Explore shapes with two young members of a Mexican-American family.  The book begins with circles as they are seen in nests, bells, and food.  Readers will also get to find squares, rectangles, triangles, ovals, and stars.  Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the book and engagingly explained within the context.  There is also a glossary at the end of the book to help.  This is an engaging look at shapes with a charming Mexican vibe.

Done in rhyming couplets, the book has a strong lilting rhythm and reads aloud easily.  The writing is strong and never suffers from the structure of the rhymes.  Thong invites us into their home where we are made to feel welcome throughout the book.  It is a warmly written book about shapes that has an additional dimension with the Spanish words.

Parra’s illustrations have a wonderful texture to them, often looking like traditional art and aging painted walls.  They add even more warmth and character to this already rich book.

This is an enjoyable and simple look at shapes and Spanish that invites the reader to learn and to try new words.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

swirl by swirl

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes

Two incredible talents worked together to bring us one of the most stunningly lovely books of the year.  It explores the different ways that spirals and swirls appear in nature.  There are the animals curled up for the winter underground, shells, unfurling ferns, hedgehogs, octopus tentacles, whirlpools and tornadoes.  This book is a masterpiece of simplicity and complexity, just like the swirls that it speaks about.

With verse by Joyce Sidman, winner of a Newbery Honor and illustrations by Caldecott winner Beth Krommes, this book is immediately something special.  The two have brought readers a poem spiraled inside intensely lovely images.  One gets the sense of unwinding a spiral when reading the verse, as it loops and dances.  The illustrations too are filled with a movement that is natural and free.

There is a simplicity about the verse that is misleading.  Sidman’s verse is tight and well crafted, showing a restraint and skill.  Krommes’ illustrations on the other hand are filled with details, lines of motion, and jewel tones.  Astonishingly lovely, the illustrations have a fully dimensional feel to them and celebrate the swirl and spiral to great effect.

Highly recommended, this book successfully celebrates shape, design, science and nature in a single beautiful work.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Check out the book trailer to see the illustrations for yourself:

Also reviewed by:

perfectsquare

Perfect Square by Michael Hall

One perfect square is transformed again and again into something surprising and new.  On Monday, the square had holes poked in it and was cut into pieces, so it became a fountain.  On Tuesday, the square was torn into scraps, so it became a garden.  Shredded strips became a park.  Shattered shards became a bridge.  Ribbons with curves became a river.  Wrinkles and crumples became a mountain.  Until finally, the square was just a square again and had to find a way to change within its four sides.  The result?  Triumphant!

This very simple premise offers small children a glimpse at art and inspiration.  It celebrates creativity, creating something new from something ripped, crumpled or sliced.  Hall sets the perfect tone with his brief text, allowing the images to do most of the work in the book.  My favorite part of the text is that the square is the one reinventing itself rather than an outside force doing the creativity.  It changes the dynamic of the book entirely.

I can see so many art project emerging from this book.  Get it into the hands of elementary art teachers in your school district!  If you enjoy crafts with your preschool story times, share some squares of paper in a variety of colors, offer scissors, hole punches, markers and more.  You just wait to see what those children create!  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by Fuse #8 and There’s a Book.

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Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier

This bright and fanciful book takes dots to a new level, celebrating all of the ways that dots and circles are in our life.  There are dots that are buttons, dots as flowers, dots as scoops of ice cream!  All in bright, vivacious colors that add to the joyful nature of this picture book.  The rhyming text is very simple, allowing the emphasis to be on the illustrations that are colorful, graphic and very fun.  This is a book that will have readers and listeners smiling at every page.

Frazier’s illustrations here have a great style that is very modern and still warm and friendly.  The humans in the illustrations are shown as a single color, eliminating any racial context and creating a book that is welcoming for any child.  Done in crisp white with bright colors, the pages almost shout with energy. 

Perfect for sharing with a group of toddlers or preschoolers, this book would  make a great jumping off point for crafts using round stickers or stamps.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Shapes That Roll

Shapes That Roll by Karen Nagel, illustrations by Steve Wilson

Follow brightly-colored Triangle, Circle and Square as they take you on a tour through the world of shapes.  Some shapes roll, some don’t.  Some stacks, some don’t.  Some open and close, some are in pieces, and other are heavy.  This book doesn’t tell readers the names of the shapes until the very end, allowing the text of the book to be more playful.  It also is built for conversation about the shapes readers are seeing, from basic shapes to cubes and spheres too.  This silly, colorful book about shapes is playful fun for young children.

Nagel’s rhymes are simple and are more about moving the reader through the world of shapes than naming the shapes themselves.  The first and last pages are filled with information while the bulk of the book is lighter fare.  Wilson’s illustrations really bring the book to life with bright colors, plenty of action, and lots of shapes to discuss and name.  I actually like the format of not naming shape after shape in the text of the book, allowing for a more interactive read with children.

A lap book rather than a group read, the friendly shapes that host this book will take readers on a shape adventure.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

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