A boy and girl explore shapes through a calendar year.
Beginning in January with “CIRCLE / round, / ready to roll. / Add two sticks, / a carrot, and coal,” the months proceed with few surprises: a heart for February, an egg for March, April showers’ rainbow, a baseball diamond in June, a rectangular pool for July’s heat. August’s an ice cream cone, September celebrates school with a crossing guard’s stop sign, October is a carved orange sphere, the two kids share a pie’s triangles in November, and December’s ice sports some figure eights. That leaves only May, which features a square wooden box filled with flowers. That’s not the only oddity, though: the verses are sometimes clunky, with odd punctuation, and at times they don’t make much sense. “A HALF CIRCLE, / don’t let go. / Showers, sunshine, / a real rainbow!” From the picture, readers won’t get much of a sense of what shouldn’t be let go: the girl isn’t holding anything, and the boy appears to have a strong grip on his umbrella. Ojala digitally illustrates his debut. Brilliant colors, simple backgrounds, and good use of perspective keep the focus on the kids (the boy a redheaded Caucasian, the dark-haired girl olive-skinned and perhaps Latina) and the shapes.
While not many books combine the months or seasons with shapes, that’s not enough of a reason for this to take shelf space from such books as Ellen Stoll Walsh’s Mouse Shapes (2007) or Stella Blackstone’s Ship Shapes (2006). (Picture/concept book. 3-6)