Seven picture books starring shapes

Published on: 24 November 2020 Author: Helen Baugh

The Spots and The Dots, by Helen Baugh and Marion Deuchars, is a picture book all about shapes with themes of overcoming prejudice and making new friends. It has an unusual double-cover, topsy-turvy format and stars the round and bouncy Spots and Dots... but stories and characters come in all sorts of shapes and sizes!

Here, Helen shares seven other brilliant books featuring shapes.

Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tim Hopgood

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Walter the spider can spin webs in lots of different shapes, but the wind keeps blowing the webs away. Will he give up, or will he keep trying? I love Tim’s quirky illustrations and the way this book celebrates unique talents and perseverance. Extra bonus: it may help with fears of spiders!

Bear in a Square by Stella Blackstone and Debbie Harter

Publisher: Barefoot Books

The Bear series was a big hit with our daughters when they were toddlers, so I wanted to include this rhyming, interactive book here. It invites the very young to find the simple shapes on every page, so expect lots of pointing and fingertip tracing. The layout encourages counting, too.

Illustration: Jon Klassen

The Shape Game by Anthony Browne

Publisher: Corgi

I love this book. It’s a reassuring introduction to visiting art galleries and enjoying art, particularly for children who might not have the chance to visit often. It’s peppered with dad jokes and, of course, it introduces us to the shape game, where players use their imaginations to take drawings of shapes in new directions. Brilliant.

Play The Shape Game

Not A Box by Antoinette Portis

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

This simple picture book is a tribute to the super-power that young children have in spades: imagination. Little ones can have fun with their own flights of fancy, trying to guess what the ‘not a box’ is going to be next. And the book will spark nods of recognition from all the adults who’ve seen toys discarded in favour of the box they came in.

Illustration: Nadia Shireen

Square by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Publisher: Walker Books

When Square’s friend Circle declares him a genius for ‘sculpting’ square blocks, he does his best to prove her right. His sculpture of Circle doesn’t turn out quite as he’d planned… but does it matter? This book takes a wry look at art appreciation and I love its understated approach.

Read our review of Square

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss

Publisher: Random House USA Children’s Books

An early and enduring love of books by Dr. Seuss is one of the reasons I like to write in rhyme. In this one, the rhymes are very simple - ‘The shape of lips. The shape of ships. The shape of water when it drips.’ - and the shapes are all shown as silhouettes. I particularly like the message at the end about appreciating your own shape.

Let's Make Some Great Art Patterns by Marion Deuchars

Publisher: Laurence King Publishing

With winter around the corner, I wanted to include an activity book alongside the story books. This is the latest title in Marion’s Let’s Make Some Great Art series, and it includes ideas for creating pictures and patterns with all kinds of interesting shapes, from circles, squares and triangles to spirals, hexagons and diamonds. Hours of fun!

Follow Helen Baugh on Twitter and Instagram and illustrator Marion Deuchars on Twitter and Instagram.

Topics: Features