Title: Square (Shapes #2)
Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Hardback
Description: This is a book about Square. This book is also about Square’s friend Circle. Square is trying to make something perfect, like Circle is. Bit it’s really hard to make something perfect…
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: I do like this book, the second in what is now confirmed to be a trilogy of shape books. ‘Square’ is a picture book around A4ish in width and has nice rounded edges and a cover with a matt finish. I like the cover as there’s no title, and just a picture of the main character, Square (which is the title!). Inside there are thick matt pages filled with illustrations and some text.
I like the story, we’re introduced to Square, who spends each day working hard pushing square blocks uphill. One day Circle floats by and sees one of the blocks that square is pushing. She thinks it’s a perfect sculpture of Square that he’s created himself, and now she wants one to be made of her. The story is simple but funny and I prefer it to the story in the first book of the trilogy ‘Triangle’. Square is a character I like, and what happens at the end is funny.
Anyone who reads my reviews of these books will have noticed I really love Jon Klassen’s style of illustration. The block print pictures are all very bold and easy to understand. There isn’t much colour in the book, white, black and grey/brown tones throughout, and yet something about these pictures to me is so appealing. Each illustration takes up a whole page or double page and I love the expressions Square has, especially when he tries so hard to come up with a sculpture for circle.
The ending of the book is satisfying, I liked it and it was better than the first book, but like with ‘Triangle’ it was a bit abrupt and left me wanting a bit more. And just like with the other book it leaves you with a question. I’m not sure I like the last pages of these books as much as their middles, and I’m not sure if all kids would like this last page question either or understand it fully. However the book overall is fun to read and I felt it was a better story than the first where Triangle is trying to play a trick on Square. I think I’ve felt sorry for Square ever since the first book and this one was definitely a happier and more fun story.
I do like this book and I know I would have liked it as a child, I’ve always liked books that are a bit different, and I’m sure many kids will enjoy the simple yet fun illustrations. I’m looking forward to the last of the trilogy to complete my collection and I’m guessing (and secretly hoping) it will feature Circle!
-Review first appeared online June 2018 – now republished here.
Have you read any books in the Shapes trilogy? What do you think about the artwork of this book? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂