Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2011 April #2 *Starred Review* Hall, a graphic designer who made his picture-book debut with My Heart Is like a Zoo (2010), takes a simple square, changes its form in tangramlike ways, and creates a picture book that is handsome, bold, and (best of all) playful. Starting out as a happy red square on Monday, it is cut into strips and punched full of holes. The next spread shows the bits and pieces repositioned, forming an impressive, multitiered fountain. Torn into scraps on Tuesday, the square (now yellow and orange) becomes a garden of flowers. On the following days, the square is "shredded," "shattered," "snipped," and "crumpled and ripped and wrinkled," but each time, it is transformed into something new and beautiful. On Sunday, nothing happens, so the square makes itself "into a window" and looks out on the creations of the previous six days. Just as the crooked smile on the jacket changes the sophisticated design into something more human and inviting, so a few simple lines added to the pictures help change the scraps of paper into convincing new scenes. Bold colors and building anticipation make moments of drama out of the page turns. Memorable for reading aloud and terrific for inspiring creative play with the simplest materials. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2011 February #1
A paper square ("It had four matching corners and four equal sides") embraces new possibilities in this deceptively simple work. In a series of paired spreads, the paper square is cut or torn or otherwise rendered into many pieces, after which it reforms itself into new and delightful things. Design decisions are strong and simple; text appears in white, while the background colors (which progress through the spectrum) echo the compositions on the facing pages. On Monday, "the square was cut into pieces and poked full of holes. It wasn't perfectly square anymore." After a page turn, what looks like an act of destruction is transformed into a fresh image: "So it made itself into a fountain that babbled and giggled and clapped." Strips from the square, cut on the diagonal, become a many-tiered fountain, while punched dots become water bubbles. Hall's (My Heart Is Like a Zoo) compositions never seem arbitrary or labored; each (a park, bridge, mountain, etc.) delivers a smile as readers see how the new collages use the fragments. A smart lesson in thinking outside the box (or the square). Ages 4â8. (Apr.)
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School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2011 April
K-Gr 2âContentment is a happy, perfect square with "four matching corners and four equal sides." It literally smiles at readers. Even when punched, torn, shredded, shattered, snipped, crumpled, ripped, and wrinkled, it finds a new shape and purpose. A rainbow of boldly colored pages separates each image (or transformation) of the square as each day of the week presents a new challenge and expands its world. Feeling surrounded again and trapped by four corners, the square quickly finds a solution and looks out on the world through a self-made window. The art is simple; minimal manipulation of the square into six new incarnations of brightly colored acrylic ink prints presents shape, color, and time in the context of a story. The message is also basicâa positive attitude toward change may lead to success (and even joy). Hall has endowed a geometric figure with personalityâindependent and artistic. As its week progresses, the narrative turn of events in the square's world encourages page-turning to discover the results. What will the square do next? This is a not-to-be-missed adventure for all young readers.âMary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
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