Skip to main content

Frida and Bear Play the Shape Game by Anthony Browne, illustrated by Hanne Bartholin

**Before I talk about this book, I have to say that Frida and Bear Play the Shape Game has to be one of the most popular picture books I have read out loud to my students since I started working as a librarian three years ago. Of course, they love the story but what they really love is actually playing the shape game with me after we finish reading the book. If you buy this book, I guarantee that it will be universally adored by anyone seven and under!**

In 2003 Anthony Browne wrote and illustrated The Shape Game, the story of a family that takes a trip to an art museum (the Tate in London, where he was the illustrator-in-residence.) The family, a father, two sons and a mother, are there, reluctantly, because it's how Mom wants to celebrate her birthday. Mom poses questions that inspire her family to think about the art they are viewing and they eventually find themselves in the paintings - with twists and updates here and there. The title of Browne's book comes from a game that Mom teaches them how to play. Using pens and a pad they bought at the museum gift shop, one person draws a shape and the other turns it into something specific. In Frida and Bear Play the Shape Game, Frida teaches this game to bear.

The story is short and sweet. The fun of Frida and Bear Play the Shape Game comes from Bartholin's illustrations and seeing what Bear and Frida make with the shapes they trade back and forth. Bear takes the game from traditional drawing paper to an envelope, then a scrap of paper (in a lovely nod to Browne and the primates that populate his books) to a twig. The final two-page spread shows a variety of drawings that came from playing the Shape Game! 

The Shape Game by Anthony Browne

In my review of Silly Billy by Browne, I also mention several of his other books, including The Shape Game. If you aren't familiar with his amazing body of work, the wonderful details of his illustrations and sensitive, thoughtful stories, I urge you to take a look!

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…