A little girl counts how many times the word “and” appears in her books and demonstrates to the adults in her life how important that little word can be.
She narrates supposedly old tales about shapes. A circle is insulted by a line until the cheerful uppercase AND, referred to as female, comes along “so simple and sure” and announces ‘Yes, we can!” and joins their hands (not pictured in the illustrations), and voilà, they form a balloon. A rectangle insults a triangle, bringing the chirpy AND again, joining them to make a seesaw. A rectangle and a square are joined to make a house, an oval and a line form musical notes, and a cylinder and an octagon form a table for people to gather in community. The rhyming tale is disjointed, with a particularly preachy conclusion, and the subtitle is quite misleading. Rothenberg’s very bright cartoons enhance the tale, with the depiction of AND varied and charming, especially when seen from a distance. But the illustrations have their own deficiencies. The rectangle that meets the triangle is extremely elongated and appears to be nearly identical to the rather wide line that joins with the oval. There is a link to download a song based on the tale. The child who begins it all appears white; some of the adults in her life are people of color.
A well-intentioned homily in which tolerance and kindness overcome bullying, but the tone is cloying and the message feels forced. (Picture book. 4-7)