105 Ways to Give a Book

Cybils FPB Nominees: Dots and Squares

Sure you can fill your picture book with all sorts of fancy art, but there are others who take a simpler approach. And it’s hard to get more basic than a dot and a square.

by Patricia Intriago

Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2011, review copy from library

DotGraphically bold, the simple dot is used to illustrate concepts and opposites. Starting with color changes of the stoplight to show stop and go dots, the design becomes conceptual to describe other ideas. The loud dot has a big pie shape cut out to represent an open mouth while the sad dot is shaped like a teardrop. A few photo images make appearances to show hands poking the hard and soft dot, and then a clearly dotted dalmatian and a not-dotted zebra. The text doesn’t always rhyme or follow a rhythm. That, along with the surprising change to photos in the two spreads, marred the book’s consistency for me, though I can see how others would appreciate those touches that leave the reader a bit askew. In all, a decent early concept book, but not one that I can imagine becoming a much-loved title.

Perfect Square
by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books 2011, review copy from library

Perfect SquareThrough a week, a perfect square goes through transformations, becoming cut, torn, shredded, shattered, snipped, and crumpled. Many squares would get annoyed at this treatment, but this square makes the best of it by turning itself into lovely pictures of flowers and mountains and such. At the end, the various pictures come together into one story in one imagined scene of all the colors of the rainbow. Personally, I would have liked to see the whole scene put together at the end — though I can guess that it wasn’t so easy. Also, I was confused by the idea that it was “a” perfect square. How does one square get pulled apart each day and also change color? I may be over-thinking here, but it did annoy me. But I’m peevish that way.

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1 comment:

Rebecca Reid said...

The square reappearing a different color each day -- and being torn apart anew -- also was odd to me. My son and I still really enjoyed it, but I did wonder how he changed color each day!