Triangle lives in a triangular house with a triangular door. One day he decides to visit his friend Square and play a sneaky trick on him. He walks past lots of triangles – small, medium and big – and past a lot of others that weren’t triangles any more until he got to a place where there were many squares. When he finally gets to Square’s house he plays his sneaky trick, hissing like a snake because he knows Square is afraid of snakes.
But he gives the game away when he is laughing so hard Square discovers him. After glaring at each other Square chases Triangle all the way home – back past the squares, the shapes with no names and the triangles – and has the last laugh. Or does he?
Often the simplest ideas and illustrations create the best stories and that is definitely the case with this, the first in a trilogy of stories about sneaky shapes. Mac Barnett has crafted a charming story that will intrigue and make young readers think, while Klassen’s iconic muted illustrations allow the storyline and the main characters to shine while still being a critical part of the tale. Being able to convey everything through just the shape and position of the eyeballs is proof of a master at work and will encourage the reader to look even more closely at the illustrations, building those critical concepts about print that are so vital for early readers.
Perfect as a standalone, readalong story that will become a favourite, it also offers lots of things to talk about such as shape recognition but could also extend the more curious with question like “Why aren’t they triangles any more? What might have happened?” or “What would you call the shapes without names?” And the question posed on the final page will elicit a vigorous discussion as well as predictions about what will happen next. There might also be a philosophical discussion about whether Triangle and Square are friends and whether this is what friends do to each other. Why did Triangle want to trick Square; how sometimes the prankster doesn’t realise the impact the prank is having and is it possible to still be friends if someone plays a prank on you?
Young children will delight in creating their own versions of Triangle and Square, perhaps as stick puppets, and making up their own adventures to tell.
Written for preschoolers, this is a fun book full of bright colours, catchy rhymes and whimsical illustrations that helps to teach our young readers the names of the colours they see in their world and how they are made.
Children show preferences for particular colours from a very early age. Since she could say the word, Miss Nearly 6 has had a very strong preference for blue – provided it was blue she would have it, even broccoli if we could work out a way to dye it! So to have the primary and secondary colours presented in such a bold way is sure to catch the eye and promise fun because who can resist an octopus, a paint brush in each of his eight arms splashing colour everywhere?
As well as the nonsense rhymes appealing to the ear in a familiar rhythm and the splashes of colour, the illustrations themselves invite exploration and interpretation encouraging the child to engage with the text. Can you find the purple socks? What do you think the blue bee is saying? Will that relaxed green mouse be safe from the large red cat looming over the house? And why is the red cow looking so angry? Children can then be encouraged to seek similar colours in their own environment, look at shades and tones, perhaps even build their own colour book called As red /yellow/green as...using pictures and captions.
There is also scope for practical experimenting using food colouring, dyes or paint so the child can discover for themselves what happens if we mix this with that, laying the foundations for some early science and building the concepts about things changing. Even though its primary audience is the very young, it also has scope for Kindy kids formally investigating colour and change as well as those a little older who are discovering the properties of light and rainbows. Why are the colours of the rainbow always the same and in the same order?
There is a myriad of ideas that this book could be the springboard for; ideas, investigations and experiments as rich as the colours themselves helping our young readers understand that not only do we get information from books but books can lead us on new adventures.
Lift-the-flap books have been a very popular format for books for the very littlies for decades simple because they work so well at engaging them through their physical interactivity. These two new publications in this series featuring topics that young children love (others are Dinosaurs and Fairy) continue this tradition of building anticipation by having to find what’s hidden. With each page containing a number of flaps to lift and the text posed as a question they can also start the child on the road to making predictions about what will be discovered and thus encouraging them to take risks in a safe environment. Using the clues in the bright illustrations and asking them what they think might be under the flap, they discover the fun of being right but also learn to cope if their prediction is not spot on. All are big-picture concepts that will help develop an understanding of and a delight in print and story.
Perfect for starting our earliest readers on their new adventures, perhaps even for those a little older who are learning English as another language and needing to build schemata about topics popular with their classmates.