cover image City Shapes

City Shapes

Diana Murray, illus. by Bryan Collier. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-37092-9

Newcomer Murray’s upbeat verses about finding shapes in the city get an extra shot of energy from Caldecott Honoree Collier’s (Trombone Shorty) artwork. On the jacket, he paints a girl with brown skin and hair bound up in a ribbon, who looks at readers through a kaleidoscope. “The city is bursting with shapes of each kind./ And if you look closely, who knows what you’ll find!” writes Murray as the book begins. Collier’s watercolor-and-collage spreads are filled with incident: pedestrians stride by, flags wave, bubbles float, and taxis speed through intersections, with squares, rectangles, and other shapes sometimes highlighted in filmy white. (A minor quibble: the shapes aren’t always clearly matched to text, as when a scarf in the section about rectangles is folded like a triangle, or a rectangular subway-car window is pictured with verse about squares.) Collier doesn’t just create the girl who does the shape finding; he gives readers a chance to get to know her. As she peers out a window with her kaleidoscope, she almost seems close enough to touch. Ages 3–6. [em]Author’s agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (June) [/em]