Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Triangle is up to no good you can see it in his shifty eyes. In fact, he's planning to play a sneaky prank on his friend Square. The charcoal-gray schemer sets off on his two peg legs, passing by mountainlike triangles that give way to rocky shapes with no names, and finally traversing the blocky landscape that leads to Square's house. Concealing himself to the side of the doorway, Triangle knows his moment has come. The joke goes off without a hitch, but Square fails to see the humor in the situation and chases the tricky Triangle all the way back to his triangle-shaped house, where the tables are hilariously turned. Barnett and Klassen, whose previous collaborations Extra Yarn (2012) and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (2014) were Caldecott Honor Books, have created a marvelously clever picture book. Its understated humor hinges on details in the minimalistic artwork, and story elements that defy reader expectation. Klassen's watercolor-and-graphite illustrations have a stamplike quality, which build distinct landscapes with squares and triangles painted in rocky grays, slate blues, and the peachy reds of marble. The simple sentences and repetition are perfect for a young audience, who will be raptly interested in the devious dynamic between the friends. Judging by this offbeat first volume, Barnett and Klassen's planned trilogy is shaping up to be an excellent one. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This dynamic duo's credits will be supercharged by a national publicity campaign including a tour, an activity kit, and promotional items and posters.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In the first book of a planned trilogy from the team behind two Caldecott Honor winners (Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole), Triangle plots some serious mischief. He's a charcoal-colored triangle with sticklike legs and Klassen's famous shifty-eyed stare, and he plans to frighten his friend Square. Triangle sets off through the triangles in his neighborhood, across a wilderness of rocky mounds ("They were shapes with no names," Barnett intones) and on through a lot of squares to Square's house. "I will play my sneaky trick," Triangle announces. He hisses like a snake, Square is terrified, and there's a moment of silent, incandescent fury as Square glares at Triangle across the page. Square chases Triangle home and blocks his door, leaving Triangle in the dark, which frightens him right back. "You see, Triangle," Square crows, "this was my plan all along." Barnett ends with a rhetorical question for readers: "But do you really believe him?" Since the final spread shows Square stuck fast in the triangular doorway, the answer, clearly, is a resounding "No!" Klassen's palette is quiet, his weathered backdrops are elegant, and his comic timing is precisely synched to Barnett's deadpan prose. Triangle fools Square, and the story fools readers, too, as they wait for Square to put Triangle in his place, or for the two to reconcile. Instead, Triangle seems to win this round, even if he does finish the book trapped in his own home. Whereas the humor in Sam and Dave Dig a Hole was subtle and sly, this shape showdown is pure, antic buffoonery. Ages 5-9. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2-A pair of practical jokes will have readers debating who started it in this picture book from the deadpan duo. Readers first meet Triangle, a simple shape with two large eyes and a sturdy pair of legs. Triangle declares that he's going to play a "sneaky trick" on Square, so he sets off across a backdrop of triangular landmarks, through the slightly wilder land of waterfalls and "shapes with no names," into a region of squares to the house of Square, a similarly wide-eyed figure. Hiding outside and hissing like a snake, Triangle frightens Square and soon finds himself fleeing across the sparse landscape, with Square in hot pursuit. Returning to the safety of his triangular home, Triangle discovers that Square has a surprise of his own in store. But was Triangle the original instigator, or was turning the tables always Square's plan? Klassen's distinctive style of digital graphite and watercolor illustrations with lots of white space is well suited to the focus on simple shapes and a circular narrative that ends where it began. The horizontal movement from Triangle's abode to Square's house and back follows a clear line, with plenty of visual cues linking the text and illustrations. Both the occasionally repetitive text and the images make this title a good match for emerging readers. The characters convey an appropriate level of shifty expression through the movement of their eyes, and the ambiguous ending will elicit plenty of opinions from young audiences. VERDICT An understated ode to mischief that's sure to please fans of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.-Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Triangle leaves his triangle-shaped house via his triangle-shaped door, off to play a sneaky trick on Square. He walks to Squares house and stands outside the square-shaped door, hissing like a snake. Square, who is afraid of snakes, predictably and gratifyingly freaks out. The mischief-maker gives himself away by laughing and gets chased back home by Square. Its Square who gets the last laugh, sort of, thanks to geometry: you cant fit a square-shaped object into a triangle-shaped hole of equivalent size, resulting in a visual gag (one that could have been more clear: whered his top corners go?) and an open ending to the story. Fans of this author-illustrator team, and of each creator individually, will recognize elements such as Klassens trademark simple shapes, sumptuous textures, and expressive eyes, not to mention a pesky antihero and a chase scene that goes in one direction, then back; the pranking frenemies of Barnetts Terrible Two series; and a pair of protagonists doing something simple (say, digging a hole) that results in unexpected narrative complexity and asks readers to think beyond whats spelled out on the page. But do you really believe him? is the last line of the book. The appended dedication and biography page includes visual confirmation that the storys events were all in good fun. And is that Klassen calling himself square? elissa gershowitz (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
The pairing of Barnett's deceptively simple, tongue-in-cheek text with Klassen's iconic splattered and stenciled watercolor and digital illustrations in earth tones makes for a unique approach to exploring shapes. Triangle, a black shape with stick legs and large eyes, inhabits a triangular house. Tired of triangular living, he leaves his domain and sets out to play a "sneaky trick" on Square. Walking past a forest of different-sized triangles and shapes resembling huge boulders, he comes to the land of the squares. When he arrives at Square's house, he hisses at Square's door like a snake, sending the four-sided shape into conniptions until his laughter gives him away. Mad as heck at the trick, Square chases Triangle back through the forest of shapes to Triangle's house. Alas, his shape prevents him from entering the triangular doorway. Inadvertently, Square discovers Triangle's fear of the dark when he blocks the light from the doorway, causing Triangle to cry out with terror. Square claims this is what he intended all along. "But do you really believe him?" The book is limited as shape instruction, as only two easy shapes are depicted, but that's not really the point. Klassen's minimalist visuals make for beautiful, surreal landscapes as the shapes go back and forth; Barnett's even-more-minimalist narrative leaves gaps of many shapes and sizes for readers to ponder. Children will be intrigued by the fairy-tale quality of this narrative and may enjoy debating the motivations of its peculiar characters. (Picture book. 2-4) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.