Circle (Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Circle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, third in their wonderfully odd Shape trilogy.

Circle is.. well, a circle. She is friends with Triangle and Square (the protagonists of the previous two books), and they often play together. One day, they meet up near Circle’s waterfall to play a game of hide-and-seek, and Circle warns them not to go behind the waterfall because it’s dark. Once she’s done counting, she opens her eyes to find Square in the exact same spot; he informs her that Triangle has gone behind the waterfall. Circle goes in after him, calling out his name as it becomes so dark that only the whites of her eyes can be seen. Spotting Triangle’s matching eyes, she scolds him for running off and worrying her and Square. Caught up in the moment, she insults him, but is quick to make amends. Triangle appears just in time to forgive her – but wait a minute. If those extra eyes weren’t Triangle’s…

I absolutely adore Barnett and Klassen’s work together, which is a perfect blend of Barnett’s hilariously dry, deadpan humor and Klassen’s simple and minimalist, yet rich and visually distinctive design. And for the majority of Circle, they do not disappoint: I found myself giggling at the dialogue (especially as Circle and Triangle realize they are not alone) or how Klassen can deftly convey a character’s intent or emotion with a slight tweak of their eyes. However, where the pair often nail their endings (Sam And Dave Dig A Hole’s is masterful), this one felt a little incomplete. Just as Circle makes a poignant observation that she and Triangle were afraid and ran from the strange shape, despite not knowing anything about it, the next page is an interactive line encouraging the reader to imagine what the strange shape may have been, then the book ends. As a conclusion, it was a little unsatisfying, and while the pair aren’t afraid of an open ending (again, Sam And Dave – read it), this one just felt too abrupt. Still, the rest of the book is just as enjoyable and odd as ever, the length is great, and JJ got quite a few laughs out of it as well. So overall, we’ll call this one Baby Bookworm approved!

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