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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


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