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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

City Shapes, written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Bryan Collier. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2016. $20.49 ages 3 and up

"A truck rumbling by
to deliver the mail,
a silvery cart with
hot pretzels for sale,
and stacks of brown
packages hauled up
the stairs ...
Some SHAPES in the
city are ...
on-the-go SQUARES."

Youngsters are quick to find shapes in their environment. Introduce a concept and watch them fly with it, as they peer carefully everywhere they go to find examples of the letter, shape, color, item they are meant to discover.

I love the lively verse as it describes an urban landscape filled with shapes that delight and entice a little girl to spend her day enjoying her busy environment. There is so much to see! As adults we know that we often don't take the time that children are so willing to give to really seeing what surrounds them. She finds the shapes she is seeking at every turn. As we watch her journey through her neighborhood, we also notice so much more on the book's pages.

Bryan Collier uses his daughter as the model for our guide. His gorgeous watercolor and collage artwork brings her to vibrant life as she wanders the city streets in her search for shapes. She is so close to us; it feels as if we are making a new friend. Each double page spread is filled edge to edge with color, activity, and images from the city. From early morning until dusk, we wander with her, witness to the joy she finds there.

"The pigeon flies back through the night cityscape
as city lights sparkle, SHAPE after SHAPE.
But her heart starts to ache for the SHAPE
she loves best.
The SHAPE that is home -
her own CIRCLE nest ...
where the whirring and beeping of cars rushing by
helps her fall fast asleep, like a sweet lullaby."

Young readers will not be able to contain their enthusiasm as they share the shapes they see, and listen to the rhythm of the words. It is a celebration of the city itself, and all that is found there. Lovely!

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