Parents' Guide to


By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Is Square a genius artist? In funny story, Circle thinks so!

Square Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Any Mac Barnett-Jon Klassen picture book collaboration is bound to include wry humor and a measure of adult sophistication, and this one's fun for kids as well. Square reintroduces the character of Square, whom we met in the previous book, taunted by Triangle. Here, he's baffled by Circle, who has an artist's eye and appreciation for sculptural form he doesn't quite share. Barnett imbues the characterizations with humor -- sophisticated Circle, so sure of her artistic assessments, and Square, who's, well, square -- hapless and insecure. Kids can enjoy and relate to his self-doubt, as well as the classic miscommunication between friends.

Klassen's art also provides plenty of humor. When Square drops over in exhaustion, his tiny stick legs protrude straight out from his square form. And after he labors in the downpour, a twig dangles comically off his head. The book's square shape and hard cardboard cover give it a board-book feel, and it dutifully teaches a preschool concept, shapes. But the inside paper pages have text and art that introduce sophisticated questions: What is art? Is it always intentional? Can we see art and beauty in accidental, everyday forms? And what do you do when your friend mistakes you for a genius?

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