Saturday, March 19, 2016

REVIEW BY ERYN: Starring Shapes! By Tania Howells

Starring Shapes!
By Tania Howells

Blurb: In this clever picture book, six different shapes attend Shapeston Elementary School along with the children: Triangle, Square, Circle, Rectangle, Rhombus (or Diamond to her friends) and Oval. As the story begins, the big news at school is the upcoming play. Everyone is looking forward to auditioning, especially the shapes. One by one they are introduced, with descriptions of their unique personalities and interests, along with the roles they've played before (Triangle as a tortilla chip, Oval as a skating rink, Diamond as a kite and the like). Happily, after all the wonderful auditions, the drama teacher decides everyone gets to be in the play! 

This fresh and playful idea for a concept book, written and illustrated by Tania Howells, makes shapes and early geometry fun. Each shape gets its own two-page spread. On the left is a large picture of the shape, with a simple and expressive face and limbs set in a jaunty pose, along with the explanatory text. On the right are boxes containing smaller illustrations of objects made out of the shape. The art, simply drawn in bright, bold colors, is charming and engaging. These spreads could easily work on their own for a lesson on shapes, and the book could be used to spark a variety of I spy activities with young children, in the classroom, in the playground or anywhere out in the world. Also, the ending spread showing the play's performance offers a terrific opportunity to search for the different shapes on the stage.

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