Nov 29, 2011

Circle + Square

by Jill Hartley

Since I'm reading my own books at a rather slow pace (not much free time, I'm afraid) but going through lots of picture books with the baby, I figured might as well feature the kid books here. After all, there's good and bad of those just like any other book. I'm more likely to only feature the "good" books for now, as I do a quick evaluation and only bring home the ones I like best (or think the baby will like). Later when she's big enough to pick her own books at the library we'll bring home some not-so-good ones and those will probably get mention here, as well, if I keep this up. I've been looking forward to exploring the picture-book section at the library again, when she's more able to appreciate the stories. Right now learning to turn the pages, not chew them, is her focus.

So, Circle + Square is one of the board books my six-month-old has been enjoying recently. It has no words, just bright photographs featuring objects that either have circular or square shapes, or both. Not only are the colors vivid and kid-appealing, but the pictures are paired so that each spread has a nice color harmony. For example, a photo of blue-and-green highlighted bubbles floating against a background of dark evergreens is next to a picture of clear marbles with blue-green swirls sitting on dark pavement. It just looks nice together, and adds to the visual appeal of the book. The only thing that throws me off is seeing a skull on the first page! (paired against black-and-white dice in a child's hands) but it doesn't faze my daughter at all (she probably doesn't even know what it is) and after learning that the author is from Mexico it makes sense; probably some Dia de Los Muertos figure. Some of the more striking images include an array of vividly-striped spinning tops, the insides of a gumball machine, a boquet of bright flowers, a table full of what looks like jello molds (all shaped like cups, many colors), a huge swirly lollipop obscuring a child's face and a bunch of little prickly cacti wrapped in pink tissue paper. The square book is small enough to be easily held, my baby has just started turning pages by herself and this one she always seems eager to see the next picture.

rating: 3/5 ........ 24 pages, 2008

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