cover image Green Lizards vs. Red Rectangles

Green Lizards vs. Red Rectangles

Steve Antony. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-84902-9

In the spirit of Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book, Antony (The Queen’s Hat) stages an absurdist face-off between an army of small, pea-green lizards and an opposing force of crisp, red rectangles of every shape and size. It’s an unlikely, even nonsensical matchup (almost animal vs. mineral), and that’s a large part of the book’s strength—this is not a war that ends with a realization along the lines of “hey, we’re the same underneath it all.” The combat reveals that both sides have their strengths: “the red rectangles were smart” (they attempt to encircle the lizards in a fencelike prison), while “the green lizards were strong” (they overwhelm the rectangles with their sheer, swarming numbers). Mid-battle, one lizard shouts, “What are we fighting for?” though his question goes unanswered after he is unceremoniously squashed. Luckily, the exhausted combatants find a way to coexist by book’s end, as the rectangles transform themselves into an urban dwelling for the lizards—a solution that acknowledges and celebrates difference, rather than trying to ignore or gloss over it. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)