Picture Book Review: Circle by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen…and an appearance by a bear!

Review: Circle (Shapes Trilogy #3) created by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Candlewick Press/Penguin Random House Canada. Thank you!
Publication: March 5, 2019 by Candlewick Press
Book Description:

Multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen deliver the final wry and resonant tale about Triangle, Square, and Circle.

This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shapes trilogy.

This is Circle.
This is Circle’s waterfall.
One day, Circle and Square and Triangle played a game near her waterfall…

The shifty-eyed shapes are back! This time, the story centers on Circle, who readers first meet in Square. In Circle, the third in the Shapes Trilogy, the three shapes- Triangle, Square, and Circle- gather outside Circle’s beautiful waterfall and the decision is made to play a straightforward game of hide-and-seek. Now, if readers remember the plot of Triangle, they may recall that Triangle has an affection for jokes and wiliness…and indeed that does prove the case as a disregard for one of Circle’s main rules leads to a very, very, very, dark cave and a potentially dangerous run-in. The ending of Circle is perhaps not as crisp or shrewd as the endings of Triangle and Square; it is distinctly more open-ended and reliant upon a reader’s imagination, and the slight change in approach may possibly surprise or faze some readers. However, while the ending of Circle similarly asks the reader to ponder an answer to an intriguing question, it also offers a different kind of audience-participatory element that might prove especially amusing during a storytime read aloud.

As Sam and Dave Dig A Hole, The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, and now the Shapes Trilogy have highlighted, the creative partnership of Mac Barnett and Canadian Jon Klassen is a marvelous one that not only pushes the borders of the picture book genre, but also one that has given readers of all ages titles that consistently delight, surprise, captivate, and cackle with laughter over. While Circle marks the third and final entry in the excellent Shapes series, I cannot help but wonder whether, given the ending of this book, there might be a continuation of the saga in some form in the future…I for one would very much welcome more!

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Candlewick Press/Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.


Bonus Board Book Look:

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, kindly provided by my friends at Candlewick Press/Penguin Random House Canada!

The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor— and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.

The award-winning, bestselling and much-loved classic I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen is now available in sturdy board book format! First published in 2011, Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back (the first in the Hat Trilogy), continues- eight years later- to feel and read just as innovative, wickedly smart, sly, and contemporary. My four year old is a passionate fan of the entire Hat Trilogy (and I love performing read alouds of each book!), but I have to say that since I shared the hardy and petite board book of I Want My Hat Back, she has become rather fixated on bear’s tale. (And truth be told, I can also share this edition with our one year old and not worry about pages getting enthusiastically destroyed!). Just like stellar and eminently re-readable storytime favourites such as The Watermelon Seed, Night Animals, Wolfie the Bunny, or The Princess and the Pony, I Want My Hat Back is indeed a superb, sharp and funny classic read that rightly remains in demand and in continual read aloud rotation.

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Candlewick Books/Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own. The title has been published and is currently available.

Author: michelle@fabbookreviews

Reference & Children's Librarian. Reader. Reviewer.

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