Review of Circle Under Berry

Circle Under Berry
by Carter Higgins; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.    g
9/21    978-1-7972-0508-3    $15.99
e-book ed.  978-1-7972-0849-7    $9.99

On the verso of the first crisp spread in this deceptively simple concept book, a yellow circle sits below a red diamond capped with green and speckled with three small seed-like yellow diamonds; in short, “circle under berry.” On the recto, a similar diamond-berry rests atop a vivid green square: “berry over square.” Rearranged on the next page (with an orange oval added at the top), they become: “circle over berry / under orange / over square.” Shuffled again later, that oval morphs into a guppy, and the berry becomes simply a diamond once again. Each ensuing spread introduces and rearranges shapes and colors to create a whimsical game of perception and classification. An octagon becomes an octopus, a trapezoid a dragonfly; true to the book’s word, the “pieces make a puzzle full of colors / shapes / and words.” Like Ehlert’s explorative Color Zoo (1989), this book opens the door for children to engage with color, geometry, and prepositions, too, just for good measure. And how could they resist, with a rhythmic text that makes use of such lush language; why look for yellow, green, and pink when you could find goldenrod, emerald, and magenta? A triumph of design and a beacon of possibility.

From the November/December 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Grace McKinney
Grace McKinney

Grace McKinney holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons University and reviews for the Horn Book Magazine. She works at a Montessori school in St. Louis, Missouri, and writes about children's books and Montessori on the blog Cosmic Bookshelf.

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