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.
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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
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[Page 144]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.