Sandy Eisenberg Sasso's many children's books include the award-winning God's Paintbrush. In this book about the importance of connections, she teams up with muralist and art therapist Joani Keller Rothenberg for a romp through worlds of mismatched shapes who don't know how to get along.
The book begins with a girl who loves to count the words in everything she reads, especially the word "and." We see her engrossed in a book with little collage snips of "and" in various fonts floating around her head. To her credit, she perseveres even when adults around her (the only gray beings in the entire book!) disapprove and call her efforts "dillydallying." But she proves them wrong when she starts reading an old story to which everyone listens.
And then unfolds — in this story within a story — a series of match-ups of oddball shapes who don't like each other at first. For instance:
"Line thought Circle was a wreck.
'You don't even have a neck!' "
But in each case, along comes the small word "And" to the rescue, saying "Yes, we can!" She joins Circle's and Line's hands, and they become balloons. She connects Triangle and a long Rectangle to make a seesaw. As each unlikely pair comes together, readers feel a mounting expectation of wondering what these two shapes will make. Can you imagine, for instance, what happens when Triangle and Square come together?
Joani Keller Rothenberg's pictures are packed with charm. You've never seen an Oval look as grumpy as the one in the story does when Line calls her "an egghead" (before "And" comes along, of course).
All this adds up to plenty of delight as well as good sense about how we need each other in order to be complete. But even better: The book has a link to a catchy, heartwarming song version, available for listening or download, sung by American singer and songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Children ages 3 - 7 will find this book and the song an encouraging way to remember how vital it is to cooperate and trust.