Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Stanley's Shapes and Stanley's Colors - a review

In 2015, I reviewed the new picture book, Stanley the Farmer by William Bee, declaring it (among other things) "a perfect choice for very young listeners."  So when I had an opportunity to review upcoming Peachtree Publishers titles, I was happy to take a look at Stanley's entries into the board book series.  I was not disappointed.

Stanley's Shapes by William Bee
Peachtree Publishers, 2016

William Bee's illustrations are crisp, bright and simple. In Shapes, he ensures that the featured shape on each double-spread page is easy for children to discern, outlined heavily in black.   There are 8 shapes in all, and each one is something that should be easily recognizable for a child.  A tent is a triangle, a window is a square, bike wheels are circles, a kite is a diamond, etc. Text is minimal for each shape,
Wheeeeeeee! Circles make the best wheels!
Preceding the simple, black text is a white outline of the featured shape.  The final spread is an illustration that contains all of the shapes,
What a lot of shapes! How many can you see?
Stanley's Shapes is exactly what a concept board book should be.

Stanley's Colors by William Bee
Peachtree Publishers, 2016

Like Stanley's Shapes, Stanley's Colors is a perfectly simple, child-sized, concept board book.  There are eight featured colors on double-spread pages.  The background is white, except for a colored banner on the bottom.  The colored banner contains the simple black text,
Choo Choo!  Here is Stanley driving his purple train.
and matches the color in the illustration.  Almost everything in the image is purple with the exception of Stanley, and a few small accents.  Black outlining ensures clarity.

If you're looking for a color concept book for very young kids, this is a great choice.

Look for these books in September, 2016.

A note on board books:
I don't usually review board books because I am often disappointed in them.  In my opinion, board books should be exactly like these books, however, in recent years, it seems as if too many of them are just retreads of popular picture books.  They're often too big, too text heavy, too complicated.  If you're shopping for board books for your collection, or your own child, keep it simple!

Review copies were provided by the publisher at my request.

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