Reviews for Perfect Square

Booklist Reviews 2011 April #2
*Starred Review* Hall, a graphic designer who made his picture-book debut with My Heart Is like a Zoo (2010), takes a simple square, changes its form in tangramlike ways, and creates a picture book that is handsome, bold, and (best of all) playful. Starting out as a happy red square on Monday, it is cut into strips and punched full of holes. The next spread shows the bits and pieces repositioned, forming an impressive, multitiered fountain. Torn into scraps on Tuesday, the square (now yellow and orange) becomes a garden of flowers. On the following days, the square is "shredded," "shattered," "snipped," and "crumpled and ripped and wrinkled," but each time, it is transformed into something new and beautiful. On Sunday, nothing happens, so the square makes itself "into a window" and looks out on the creations of the previous six days. Just as the crooked smile on the jacket changes the sophisticated design into something more human and inviting, so a few simple lines added to the pictures help change the scraps of paper into convincing new scenes. Bold colors and building anticipation make moments of drama out of the page turns. Memorable for reading aloud and terrific for inspiring creative play with the simplest materials. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
The protagonist, a square, is "perfectly happy." On Monday it arranges itself into a fountain; on Tuesday it becomes a garden, etc. Bold acrylic monotype ink prints feature skillfully snipped, ripped, or crumpled papers, arrayed in collages made eloquent by a few deft lines. Just right for toddlers, but also for those ready for the abstract theme of inventive self-empowerment. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #2
This near-perfect concept book incorporates an imaginative exploration of colors, a nice assortment of vivid words, and the transformational possibilities of a simple-seeming square. After defining his flat red protagonist both graphically and verbally, Hall personifies it ("it was perfectly happy"), adds a border-exceeding smile, and presages fanciful flights to come by imbuing its basic red with a more nuanced texture. On Monday, cut into tangram-style pieces and punched with holes, it arranges itself to be a fountain "that babbled and giggled and clapped" (orange); torn into scraps on Tuesday, it becomes (with added stems) a garden. "Shredded in strips," it's a green park; "shattered," a bridge, and so on through the week. Meanwhile, bold acrylic monotype ink prints segue through the rainbow colors, blending in subtle, dappled hues on skillfully snipped, ripped, or crumpled papers, arrayed in collages made eloquent by a few deft lines, all set off handsomely on white. Finally, on Sunday when "nothing happened," the square "made itself into a window" with glorious splotches of every color, through which its six earlier incarnations are visible for a recapitulation -- dramatizing the idea that perfection lies not in rigorous form but in the creative visions that can spring from it. Just right for toddlers, but also for those ready for the abstract theme of inventive self-empowerment: a book to revisit often, and with delight. joanna rudge long Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

[Tue May 3 04:47:47 2016] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. Kirkus Reviews 2011 March #2

The volume, like its subject, is a perfect square, welcoming readers into a colorful, geometric romp. Opposite a shiny red page with white type sits "a perfect [red] square. It had four matching corners and four equal sides." On the next page, the square wears a smile, because it is "perfectly happy." On Monday, though, the square is no longer square; someone has cut it up and had at it with a hole puncher, so those shapes arrange themselves into a fountain (with red dots as water). On Tuesday, the square is torn into orange shapes and becomes a garden with the addition of a few well-placed lines. Wednesday's green shreds become a park, Friday's blue ribbons turn into a river. Each day, the brilliant colors change, and the square is torn, crumpled or cut. The artist adds lines—making fish, clouds, etc.—that enable readers to see the new creation. The simple language is as perfect as the initial square. Hall's acrylic monotypes make each iteration slightly different in texture and color, so the whole is a visual feast. The entire week comes together in a "This is the house that Jack built" way at the end, when on Sunday the square becomes a window onto all that was made. Young readers will absorb the visual lessons effortlessly and with delight. (Picture book. 4-8)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 February #1

A paper square ("It had four matching corners and four equal sides") embraces new possibilities in this deceptively simple work. In a series of paired spreads, the paper square is cut or torn or otherwise rendered into many pieces, after which it reforms itself into new and delightful things. Design decisions are strong and simple; text appears in white, while the background colors (which progress through the spectrum) echo the compositions on the facing pages. On Monday, "the square was cut into pieces and poked full of holes. It wasn't perfectly square anymore." After a page turn, what looks like an act of destruction is transformed into a fresh image: "So it made itself into a fountain that babbled and giggled and clapped." Strips from the square, cut on the diagonal, become a many-tiered fountain, while punched dots become water bubbles. Hall's (My Heart Is Like a Zoo) compositions never seem arbitrary or labored; each (a park, bridge, mountain, etc.) delivers a smile as readers see how the new collages use the fragments. A smart lesson in thinking outside the box (or the square). Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 April

K-Gr 2--Contentment is a happy, perfect square with "four matching corners and four equal sides." It literally smiles at readers. Even when punched, torn, shredded, shattered, snipped, crumpled, ripped, and wrinkled, it finds a new shape and purpose. A rainbow of boldly colored pages separates each image (or transformation) of the square as each day of the week presents a new challenge and expands its world. Feeling surrounded again and trapped by four corners, the square quickly finds a solution and looks out on the world through a self-made window. The art is simple; minimal manipulation of the square into six new incarnations of brightly colored acrylic ink prints presents shape, color, and time in the context of a story. The message is also basic--a positive attitude toward change may lead to success (and even joy). Hall has endowed a geometric figure with personality--independent and artistic. As its week progresses, the narrative turn of events in the square's world encourages page-turning to discover the results. What will the square do next? This is a not-to-be-missed adventure for all young readers.--Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX

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