Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Published: Candlewick Press, 2018
Square is the most recent shape-based story collaboration between author Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen. (Square is one of an eventual trilogy. I’ll review Triangle here soon…and Circle when it comes out!) The names of the author and illustrator probably sound very familiar if you’ve got kiddos…these guys are rock stars in the picture book world. Admittedly, I am a pretty massive Jon Klassen fan (I Want My Hat Back is among my top 25 picture books ever) and the more I read of Mac Barnett’s work, the more I like his work. Square is no exception. It is absolutely fabulous.
My girls immediately recognized Jon Klassen’s style as ‘the guy who drew the hat book!’ Lily really loves the design of square (and circle). There was something captivating about the simplicity of the art in this book- Lily loved examining each page.
But what of the story? Read on!
The story follows Square, a hard-working shape who moves square-shaped blocks from his secret cave onto a pile (it’s tough work, but somebody’s gotta do it). Everything is great, until his buddy Circle shows up and sees a block. She assumes that Square carved it himself, to look like himself. Circle tells Square that he’s a sculptor – a genius! She asks him to make a sculpture of her. Square has no idea how he will make a block into something as perfect as Circle. He works and chips away and tries his best…to no avail. He ends up falling asleep surrounded by rock pieces. And then it starts to rain.
I don’t want to give away the ending, so I’ll stop there. When I first read Square, I really didn’t see where the story was going. I absolutely LOVE picture books like this. All too often, you start reading a kid’s book, get a few pages in and then immediately see how everything will wrap up. In this case, I couldn’t figure out how Square would overcome his problem. He chopped up the block! It rained! Circle showed up early! He’s in trouble! But, of course, everything works out well. And Circle still thinks he’s a genius.
I love the fact that these books end with a question. In this case, “But was he really?” referring to the fact that, perhaps, Square’s ‘genius’ was more luck…but you can be the judge of that!
We’re definitely going to be picking up a copy of Square, Triangle and (eventually) Circle for our own library.
Mama’s review: It’s hip to be square!
Vivi’s review: A
Lily’s review: “He’s not really a genius, is he?”