Title: Perfect Square
Author: Michael Hall
Illustrator: Michael Hall
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 2011
Audience: Written for ages 4-8 years
Summary: Start with a square of bright red paper that is perfectly happy. On Monday it is cut into pieces and riddled with dots, so the square adapts the shapes into a babbling fountain. The next day the square is torn in pieces, so it makes itself into a garden. Each day as the square is changed it transforms itself into something unexpected and delightful. On Sunday nothing happens and the square, now used to change, makes a surprising adaptation rather than remain the same.
Literary elements at work in the story: Perfect Square is a visual experience of design, shapes and colors. With a few lines-a smile, a drooping mouth-the square becomes more than paper; it becomes a subject that acts and feels. The brief text follows a repeated pattern that complements the design. .
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The square is referred to as “It” and is still a remarkably vital personality. None of the other issues arise.
Theological Conversation Partners: A good book- that is one that engages the reader, stretches her mind, stimulates imagination, brings delight, and demands to be shared- needs no purpose beyond the reading. Perfect Square fits this description. Any parent, child, or art teacher will welcome it thankfully. While transformation and change are themes of the Christian faith, there’s nothing in this book to indicate who makes the changes and nothing to indicate anyone is involved in the transformation except the square itself. Just enjoy the book with a preschool or elementary child. Still, the square’s experience of change and adaptation, can help older Christians ponder how they respond to changes in their lives. In an intergenerational study, valuable insights could be gained.
Faith Talk Questions For Upper Elementary to Adult
- Have you ever felt like the square? Something happens to change your situation or alter your lifeover which you had no control.
- Could you identify the cause of the change?
- Does it make a difference if you feel God has a part in the change?
- How did you respond to the change? How did the square respond to change?
- Did the square find change good? Why?
- Some Biblical characters must have felt that they were cut, torn, shredded or ripped: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, John. Think about how they responded to a changed situation or a new demand. Read Romans 8:28, TEV.
- Is change always good?
Review prepared by guest blogger Virginia Thomas
Perfect Square by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.