In the tradition of Leo Lionni’s Little Blue and Little Yellow (1959), this French import uses geometric shapes, color and size to explore compatibility and conflict.
Big Square and Little Round play a game every Wednesday: “As soon as one of them says a word, they transform themselves into it.” Despite a few awkward turns of phrase, the narrative proceeds effectively. The blue square breaks apart to form a butterfly and a flower; the orange circle imitates the poses but displays its own curvaceous style. When the square gets carried away in pursuit of ever larger goals (a pine tree, a house), the circle retreats to a corner. It eventually crosses the gutter and reaches out to its friend with the idea of working together. They make a clown’s face, a lovely bouquet, even abstract compositions “that then take shape” to form a dog and then other things. Readers familiar with tangrams might be disappointed that the transformations are not mathematically accurate, but the soft, cream-colored paper, complementary colors and clean design result in a harmonious balance nonetheless. Emotionally, the ups and downs of a day with a friend will ring true for young children.
Bertier presents a marvelous springboard for using formal elements to create individual or collaborative narratives. (Picture book. 3-6)