MARK SPERRING is the author of several books for children, and is also a bookseller with a huge wealth of knowledge of the children's market in his native England.
ALYS PATERSON is a graphic designer and fine artist who has created a line of greeting cards, and displayed her artwork through various galleries and Ikea. This is her debut picture book.
Part concept book and part poem, this eye-catching picture book is a reassuring valentine for any day of the year. Despite the emphasis on shapes, Sperring (The Sunflower Sword) isn't offering an introduction to circles, squares, and triangles: "This is the shape that we are./ The shape of you and me," he writes, as the opening spread shows two smiling figures-one large, one small-in white silhouette, defined by a sea of colorful shapes that surround them. A focus on bodily shapes continues ("This is the shape of my hand,/ the hand you hold on to"), serving as an entry into related objects and settings (a spread about food follows one about mouths; a look at feet and shoes paves the way for a scene featuring vehicles). Debut illustrator Paterson fills the pages with crisp and colorful objects, often accented with sound effects (a friendly dinosaur offers a gentle "raaaa," birds chirp and tweet). It's a lovingly designed and visually appealing portrait of the places, animals, and objects common to a child's world, with the invisible but perceptible adult presence hovering in the background. Ages 2-5. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr 1-Sperring offers up a slightly nontraditional concept book in this visually absorbing introduction to shapes. Circles, squares, and triangles are not the focus here. Instead, children are presented with a range of more organic shapes that may hit closer to home-a mouth, feet, shoes, animals, cars, and, of course, a heart. Rhyming text addresses listeners as a parent speaking to a child, pointing out the world around them. "This is the shape of my shoes./And this is the shape of your feet./And these are the shapes that pass us by. /on a noisy, busy street." Beneath a large heart filled with the previously mentioned shapes, Sperring closes his poetic ode with these lines: "And this is the shape I love you with./This is the shape of my heart." Paterson's charming, modern designs practically sing. Stylized birds, a polka-dot mouse, an extra-long pink taxi, patchwork patterned grass, rainbow stars, and other quirky details pop out against white backdrops. Satisfying rhymes and large, attractive art combine to make this a storytime or bedtime winner.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, Farmington Hills, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.