Thursday, March 16


by Mac Barnett &
Jon Klassen
Candlewick 2017

Triangle, an equilateral with a pair of eyes that look like painted white rocks and legs like burnt matchsticks, lives in his triangle house on the triangle side of his world. He goes out his triangle door one day, past where Triangleville becomes the Land of Shapes With No Name, into the Squaresville, where Triangle's friend Square lives.

"Now," said Triangle, "I will play my sneaky trick."

Triangle's sneaky trick is to hiss like a snake -- because Square HATES snakes -- until Square is so afraid that Triangle is doubled over in laughter and cannot hiss anymore. Once Square realizes he has been tricked the chase is on. Past Squaresville, the Land of Shapes With No Name, and finally into Triangleville where Triangle runs into the safety of his triangle home.

And where Square, too wide for the shape of the doorway, becomes stuck.

And then it is dark, and Triangle is afraid of the dark.

And Square claims it was his plan all along to play his sneaky trick on Trinagle.

But was it planned?

It's a punchline story, a chase cartoon with a simple ending and no real resolution, but completely within the realm of how children play. Klassen and Burnett have teamed up before with the existential Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and old world magic charm of Extra Yarn, but the depth of those stories is lacking here. 

Maybe that's as it should be, as this board book on steroids with its heavy board cover and the simplicity of something intended for readers still young enough to chew their books. This is the opening salvo for a series of beginning readers -- Square and Circle will follow -- and I would hope that future stores had a little more meat to their rocky bones. As it stands it's cute, in a borrow-don't-buy sort of way.

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