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From the Beginning Baby series

illustrated by Nicola Slater

Pub Date: June 8th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-4521-7093-0
Publisher: Chronicle Books

The friendly animals of the Shape School invite readers to find and explore 10 different shapes.

This board book is more than a simple shape seek-and-find or identification book. It goes one step further to engage little readers in fine motor practice. For example, Elijah the elephant encourages readers to trace all of the circle shapes on the page with a finger. On another, readers are asked to tap the three points on the triangles in the picture. Each page features a different shape, which is highlighted on a tab located on the outer edge of the book. Some double-page spreads include a lot of shapes, perhaps more than a toddler or preschooler would have the patience to interact with: more than 20 triangles and 40 hearts, for instance. That said, there is no counting challenge per se, and it does allow for readers to do as much or as little as they would like. Similarly, it includes some less-obvious shapes, like the cabinet with nine square cubbies that is also itself square, and there are two flamingos whose bodies form the shape of a heart. This helps stretch the challenge for slightly older readers. The illustrations are darling and certainly inviting. Riley the narwhal is irresistible in a red-and-white striped shirt and tiny red backpack. None of the animals are gendered with pronouns in the text.

Adorable illustrations and an unusually engaging approach to shape recognition.

(Board book. 2-4)