Book Reviews: Triangle, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, and Rock Pool Secrets, by Narelle Oliver

Triangle, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

cv_triangleTriangle lives in his triangle house amongst triangle mountains. Square lives in a square house amongst square mountains. One day Triangle goes on a mission to play a trick on his friend Square. But then Square gets his revenge.

I love Jon Klassen books and this partnering with Mac Barnett is spot on. Giving personalities to shapes is genius and its executed flawlessly. The illustrations are classic Klassen and fit in with the story seamlessly. The book brings up questions about trust, and just what it is to play a trick on someone. It’s got humour and quirkiness while still being simple and clever. AND it’s the first of a (shape) trilogy!

Rock Pool Secrets, by Narelle Oliver

cv_rock_pool_secrets‘At first glance there’s nothing much to see. But the rock pools are full of secrets.’

Some of my best memories are of windy, salty Wellington days spent exploring the rock pools around Lyall Bay. There is always something interesting to find and this book is the same. Each page is full of detail and hiding creatures. Almost every page has a large flap for extra exploring – my daughter especially loved opening the flaps to see what was hiding underneath.

The text is informative yet softly flowing over the pages, fitting in well with the watercolour linocut artwork. This is a good introduction for young kids to a non-fiction style of book as it feels like you’re learning something along your journey through the rockpools.

Reviewed by Nyssa Brown

by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781406376678

Rock Pool Secrets
by Narelle Oliver
published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781922179357

Book Review: We Found a Hat, by Jon Klassen

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_we_found_a_hatTo me, the maxim “less is best” applies to picture books and Jon Klassen has got it so right. On the surface this is a simple tale of two turtles who find a hat in the desert. Both try it on, both want it, but what can they do?

Klassen has already entranced us with two previous books on the topic: I Want my Hat Back and This is Not My Hat. Here the story continues with minimal text and simple illustrations.

The book is in three parts. The hat is found and tried on in Part One. Both agree the hat looks great, while we the reader can see it looks silly having a huge white hat on a tiny turtle head. They decide to leave the hat in the desert.

In Part Two, we see sneaky turtle deciding he needs to go back. The sideways eyeballs say it all. In Part Three ,the decision is made.

The conclusion is not what you might expect but it underpins the message of justice. The importance of a decision and the moment when we decide what is right and just, is clearly illustrated in this tale. It can be enjoyed on many levels. While a child will love the simple text and delightful illustrations, older children and adults can appreciate the subversive illustrations and the underlying message. My class of 14-year-olds had a lively discussion after part Two. They had all sorts of suggestions, but none came up with Klassen’s ending.

This is a book-lovers book. My copy will not be in anyone’s Christmas stocking.

Reviewed by Kathy Watson

We Found a Hat
by Jon Klassen
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781406347517