City Shapes by Diana Murray hardcover
From shimmering skyscrapers to fluttering kites to twinkling stars high in the sky, everyday scenes become extraordinary as a young girl walks through her neighborhood noticing exciting new shapes at every turn. Far more than a simple concept book, City Shapes is an explosion of life. Diana Murray's richly crafted yet playful verse encourages readers to discover shapes in the most surprising places, and Bryan Collier's dynamic collages add even more layers to each scene in this ode to city living.
An interesting analysis of shapes clarifies definitions of geometric forms like “circle,” “oval,” “square” and “rectangle,” while also underscoring the way that they are related to each other, emphasizing the way they complete and complement each other. Examples are borrowed from everyday scenes of city life. Murray walks the reader through recognizing complex images, simplifying shapes, and deconstructing layers built by the reflections of shapes in glass, the shape of objects for sale on a vendor’s table, and those that make up streetlights, flags and in the figures and forms painted in murals on the walls of buildings. Her rhyming text flows well, successfully mimicking the interplay of the forms and rich colors that Collier uses in his illustrations, creating images that are sophisticated and fresh. Figures are fully developed in three dimensions, supporting the blend of flat shapes with shapes that have depth and perspective. The multiple ethnicities that typically populate a city are represented in the individuals and crowds on the sidewalks and in parks, mirroring the different shapes and colors in the illustrations. The synthesis of text and image is seamless; and the result is a book that educates, delights and encourages the reader to observe, look closely, and appreciate the intricacy of the shapes that make up a city landscape. Murray’s book would be a very good addition to a preschool or elementary classroom or library’s resources for introducing children to basic shapes that are the foundation for later learning.