Howells give familiar shapes both personalities and back stories in her authorial debut.
Everyone at Shapeston Elementary is excited about the auditions for the upcoming play, especially the shapes. They’ve had lots of practice playing roles and doing jobs already. Each of the six—Triangle, Square, Circle, Rectangle, Rhombus (aka “Diamond to her friends”), and Oval—gets his or her own double-page spread to serve as an introduction, cleverly pointing out to kids the many places they can find shapes in the everyday world. “Maybe you saw [Triangle] strutting her stuff on that sailboat in the bay.” “[Diamond] dazzles in patterns—check out your uncle’s argyle socks.” The right-hand pages of these intros present montages that show many of them in action: Circle as clock face, Rectangle as tablet screen, etc. Some of the real-world applications are clearer than others (the frosted green Diamond-shaped shortbread feels entirely arbitrary, for instance), and for Square’s help with math, children may need the picture to make the connection. In the end, everyone gets a part, and the shapes play integral roles in the scenery. Howells’ digital artwork is bright and colorful and clearly shows the many places shapes can be found. However, her text is far too long for any audience that is just learning about shapes, and the play is a rather weak device.
Not for beginners, but older children may use this as a springboard for their own shape hunts. (Math picture book. 4-7)