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Circles of Round
by Signe Sturup
Illustrated by Winnie Ma
AGES: 4 to 8
SIZE: 8 x 11
PRICES: $18.95 Cdn, $16.95 US
HARDCOVER: 978-1-927018-18-7

CM review: 4/4 stars!

He’s obtuse! Silly goose! How profound! He’s not round!”


The circles are happy in the town of Round until one day an interloper in the form of a triangle, appears to shake things up. Circles morph into squares, triangles and other shapes with angles and corners, disrupting life in the town. Fortunately the smallest of squares becomes the voice of reason and coaches all to concentrate hard and become circles once again, urging the shapes to eschew “trendy” and be themselves. 

internal art      The team of author Signe Sturup and illustrator Winnie Ma is a winning one. Sturup holds a BFA in theater and teaches English to adults and children while Ma has a Bachelor of Design and practices as a communications designer. Circles of Round is a culmination of their skills and training. It is a tour de force of movement, colour, shape and design, written expressly for children teaching them not only shapes, but how one shape can fluidly become another. 

      Colour is used liberally yet wisely throughout this title, starting with the cover, the end papers. The illustrations are photographs of cut paper in various shape formations, and each page has the right amount of contrast – often as white space – punching up the shapes to the reader. 

      Although nonfiction in tone, Circles of Round is told in story format, beginning with “Once upon a time” providing a clever learning experience for children as they learn shapes, colours and the importance of being yourself.

     The often challenging words stimulate curiosity and will cause children to ask questions, roll the words around on their tongue and ultimately “shape” their vocabulary – couldn’t resist the pun (this story just makes you want to be punnier). There is also a lot of wordplay – “it’s hip to be square” “Are you in poor shape” “angles on life” that will tickle the funny bones of adults as well as children. The book begs teachers to encourage design activities for their students and is cross-curricular with activities for language arts, art and mathematics.  

      I leave you with the description on the back of Circles of Round:

Looking edgy may be trendy, But is it better than a well-rounded life?