Book Reviews Picture Books

Perfect Square by Michael Hall

Perfect Square is such a clever, simple book. I am always on the lookout for books that bridge the gap between board books and full-on, lengthy-text picture books (Ella isn’t really ready to sit through many readings of, say, One Morning in Maine).

The book starts out with a square, perfect with four equal sides and four perfect corners. But then, on Monday, it is cut up and holes are poked into it. Not to be deterred, the square rearranges itself into a fountain (the holes look like bubbling water – it is really cool).

Each successive day, the square is a different color and is un-squared another way (smashed, torn, crumpled, etc). And each day the square rearranges itself into a new object, each one clever and fun to look at.

On Sunday, the square is just a square again, but now he’s unwilling to stay just the same old thing and he takes it upon himself to re-imagine himself once again.

The squares and the resulting shapes have the same collage-y look as some of Eric Carle’s books, but these are a little crisper and less free-form than Carle’s are.

The large images, sharp colors, shapes, and brief text make this a perfect book for a small child; it will definitely be on my list of books to give as a gift (pair it with one of those Tangram games and you have a present that could entertain children of many ages).

This one is getting some early Caldecott Buzz and while I would be a smidge disappointed if it took the gold (somehow it doesn’t quite have what I’m looking for as the best book of the year), I’d be thrilled to see it get an Honor. 

Copy checked out from my local library

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  • Reply Tina's Blog June 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I am anxious to use this one at school next year…I think the kids would enjoy trying to make things out of a square of their own.

  • Reply Ali June 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    So, I'm expecting my first kid…any day now, really. But forget clothes or anything, what my husband and I have been most excited about is kid's books! We just got Press Here, and it looks like I have another one to add to the list. Thanks for featuring books that are awesome, that I won't mind reading nine billion times!

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife June 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Oh this sounds so fun! I may have to see if I can peek at some of the pages on Amazon.

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