How can a puppy fit blocks together to make a place to nap?
Harris and Chatterton team up for another “Math Tale” (CRASH! BOOM!, 2018) in this shapes primer for young readers who’ve graduated from board books. An orange puppy with black ears and white paws has a bag full of wooden blocks. The pup counts and identifies each block, then arranges them through trial and error until there’s a platform big enough to lie on with a blanket and teddy bear. The repetitive text keeps a steady pace and includes exhortations to “Look!” and count the “1. 2. 3. 4 corners” of a rectangle, encouraging reader engagement. The content pushes understanding beyond the basics, noting, for example, how every side of a rectangle block is also rectangular. Sometimes the phrasing can be confusing, as when the puppy examines a new shape and exclaims, “Oh. This is a rectangle that’s square!”—but such moments could be opportunities for young readers to make discoveries of their own in the moment or during a reread. The digitally colored pencil illustrations with some photographic elements are dear, with an appropriate level of simplicity and lots of negative space in its white, pastel blue, or yellow backgrounds. The puppy’s soft curves and spots provide a distinctive visual counter to the beveled edges of the blocks.
Quaint independent learning. (Picture book. 3-5)