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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

perfect square, written and illustrated by Michael Hall. Harper, 2011. $18.99 ages 3 and up

"On Sunday,
the square waited
to see what was next.
It waited and waited.

Nothing happened."

Wow, if you are interested in what can be done with a perfect square, you need to sit yourself down and take a close look at this feast for the imagination. Michael Hall begins with a shape (square) and a color (red) and that truly is only the beginning. With each day that passes, he gives his square a new and wondrous possibility.

At its inception, it is happy to be flat and square and red. Each day of the week brings an event that changes it forever. With each of these events, the square reinvents itself to become something entirely different, and quite unlike what it was on the previous day. Michael Hall uses texture, color, and a healthy dose of originality to create this wonderful book with a little message for toddlers and for older children.

Others might wail about each new lot in life, but not our square. It accepts each change as it comes, and seems better and wiser as the week winds down. Michael Hall recognizes that his readers will appreciate an ending that ties it all together. Do that he does, with panache.  When life as it was is no longer enough, the square takes its destiny in hand and recreates itself to incorporate each of its new entities.

The appeal of this book for me is not just about the bold and lovely artwork, I also appreciate the author's carefully chosen words. He uses a repetitive refrain, 'so it made itself into a', for young readers to find comfort in striking out on their own reading adventure.  He never forgets those who will read and read and read it again...the children.

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