Montessori experts offer a handsome, in-depth exploration of shapes.
As the parent note on the verso of the cover states, the shapes are presented from the concrete to the abstract. Three varieties of triangles, all with a tactile feature created by cutting away the top layer of the board page, are presented, allowing readers to feel and understand the geometric concept. On the following pages, these triangles are more specifically named (isosceles, equilateral and right-angled) and shown in their real-world contexts as an evergreen tree, the roof of a house and a sail on a boat, respectively. Rounds (circle, ellipse and oval) come next, followed by parallelograms and polygons presented in the same format. Nassner’s crystal-clear graphics in natural colors against faux wood grain, give the book much-needed warmth. This is an advanced take on shapes, with mathematically accurate vocabulary (“rhombus” is used rather than the more colloquial “diamond,” for example), and shapes are flipped and turned when presented as real-world objects (the egg-shaped “oval” is shown narrow end up in its abstract form and with narrow side down as a balloon). There are some clever and surprising things used to illustrate where shapes can be found, such as the black pentagons found on the typical soccer ball.
As in the Georges’ earlier offerings, Number Work and Letter Work (both 2012), this outing is appropriate for youngsters who have moved beyond the basics. (Board book. 3-6)