We are shapes

WE ARE SHAPES | Kirkus Reviews

by Melinda Beck ; illustrated by Melinda Beck ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 20, 2022

Six assorted shapes introduce themselves one by one, then come together in this minimalist concept book.

First up, a white, polka-dot square points out its four sides. Next, a red rectangle does the same, adding that it can be wide or tall. The green triangle describes itself as “pointy,” while the yellow circle admits it has no sides but can roll. Lumpy, a cloudlike shape, and striped, visaged, ropelike Squiggly model their own less-concrete attributes: Lumpy bounces; Squiggly wiggles and giggles. Together, the cast attempt to form a stack, but this proves challenging. Triangle is too pointy to support its fellow shapes, Circle is inclined to roll, and Squiggly is too unstable. However, persistence pays off, and the now-smiley shapes arrange themselves into a house. Beck is a respected, accomplished graphic artist, but here, the choice of using shapes to convey the welcome, if familiar, message of cooperative endeavor feels incongruously dispassionate and abstract. The book is conceptually inconsistent. Squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles are shapes and nouns with simple, universal specifications easily grasped by small children; but, the adjectives lumpy and squiggly are not shapes and lack straightforward definitions, a discrepancy left unresolved. The text is similarly confusing. The shapes’ conclusion that “together we are a home” is contradicted by the illustration: Circle is a sun, Lumpy is a cloud, while Squiggly’s role (surrogate human?) is unclear. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Executed with more flair than substance, this board book is a miss. (Board book. 1-3)

  • 1

Pub Date: April 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-83866-474-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022


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Song Lyrics and Sound Clip

We Know Our Shapes
Song for Teaching Shapes
Music With Mar.

This song is available on Music with Mar.'s "Math with Mar."

     In this activity, children will watch and listen as the teacher demonstrates drawing the shape in the air and making a sound. The children then draw the shape and make the sound. For repetition, both teacher and children draw and sing the shape a third time.
      If you do not want to draw in the air, the children can have a visual on their desk that has the four shapes and they can trace the shape with their fingers. -- Mar. Harman

We know our shapes so here’s what we’ll do
We’ll draw our shapes and sing them, too

A circle has one line.
One line that’s round
Start at the top
and make this sound
Whoop! (Whoop)
One round line

A square has four sides
that are all the same
Say this sound 4 times
to play this game
Wo Wo Wo Wo
Wo Wo Wo Wo
4 same sides on a square

A rectangle has 4 sides like a square
Two are short, two are long.
Draw them in the air
2 long, 2 short
Wo whew, wo whew

A triangle is different;
Its sides are three
Draw 3 sides
and make this sound with me.
Ting, Ting, Ting
Ting, Ting, Ting
Triangle has 3 sides
Ting, Ting, Ting

We know our shapes.
Yes we do.
We can draw them and sing, them, too!


See all of our Numbers/Counting and Elementary Math Song Lyrics

Many thanks to Music with Mar. for permission to display these lyric excerpts.
© Music with Mar, BMI. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Early Math Concepts
Song Lyrics

Song Lyrics

Math Music Products



Key words: pronouns, figurative usage, Russian, Estonian


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Here are five reasons authors should work with MYTH. First, there are values. MIF publishes only good books that can change the world. It is important for me to work with those for whom contribution to the world is the main value. Secondly, MIF has a very professional team of editors, who make the manuscript “cut” in jewelry and it becomes even stronger and of higher quality. Thirdly, MYTH has the most powerful platforms for promoting the book. The company has an innovative approach to marketing: each book has its own producer, who is responsible for ensuring that as many people as possible know about it. Fourthly, MYTH is a brand.

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At that time, only two children's books were published in the publishing house, the children's direction had just begun to work. We met. I was waiting for the usual acquaintance with the publisher. She brought already published books and the project "Findings" in the form of a printout on two A4 sheets. I was skeptical, because from the experience of communicating with different publishers, I knew that it was necessary to offer a finished project, and not just one spread. Even if it clearly expresses the idea and style of the whole book. No pile of published books, no awards will help here: they simply won’t believe you that you will do it. And MIF did not even doubt it. Instead of unnecessary persuasion, it turned out to be a constructive conversation about the project. And two months later, Finders came out and are still being published. All our further joint projects had a similar fate.

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bestselling author Creativity with kids

When the idea of ​​creating a book came up, for me there was no question of choosing a publisher (even though it sounds more like a popular advertising cliché :-), but it's a fact). In my understanding, MIF is the best Russian publishing house, and I can hardly add anything to this. I was very worried that they would not answer me at all or would refuse me when the correspondence began.

The idea of ​​creating a book was rather a joint one, since I couldn't bring myself to admit that I could WRITE A BOOK. This thought hovered somewhere near me, but I managed to catch it only with MYTH.

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Alexandra Balashova
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Hello everyone! I will begin my story about my work with the Mann, Ivanov and Ferber publishing house with a little background. I've always loved children's books, and when MIF started publishing them, the market for children's books changed. It seems to me that the publishing house has instilled a love for activity books, for books that you can write and draw in, that you can cut and color, and it's so cool!

I got into the publishing house somehow by myself. I had a project - I drew city postcards that could be downloaded on the Internet, printed, cut out and assembled as a multi-layered postcard. I also painted Stockholm, Gojeborn and Malmo for the Swedish Tourism Office. Even then, the Swedes and I began to discuss how great it would be to make a book about Stockholm, Scandinavia is very close to me and I really liked this idea of ​​a children's guide, Nastya Kreneva from MIF Childhood liked it too. And everything turned around. In addition, at the first stage of work, we discussed the publication of my multi-layered postcards in the form of a book, and at that moment I had proposals for publication from 5 or 6 other publishers, but I chose MYTH. It seems to me that each publishing house has its own style and its own content, and my cities fit perfectly into the MYTH.

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