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Perfect Square

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  3,667 Ratings  ·  405 Reviews
A perfect square is transformed in this adventure story that will transport you far beyond the four equal sides of this square book.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Greenwillow Books
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Jan 04, 2011 Betsy rated it really liked it
Graphic designers of the world, take heed: I am wary of your intentions. I mean it. You guys are, and I say this in the kindest way possible, strange. I don’t mind it when you take up large sections of MOMA with funky chairs. That is entirely your prerogative. No problemo. But when you start writing children’s books my hackles start to rise. I’ve little patience for books like The Graphic Alphabet which seem to have more fun entertaining mod tots’ parents than actual flesh and blood children. At ...more
The Library Lady
Jun 01, 2011 The Library Lady rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is the sort of book the snobs much-hipper-than-me librarians will pass by at the Caldecott. Hell,I could give you a long long list of innovative, creative, KID FRIENDLY author/illustrators who are never at the most more than the bridesmaids at these things. And it's a pity, because this is just the sort of smart, creative, KID FRIENDLY sort of book that they SHOULD recognize.

A simple square. But if you tear it into triangles, and punch holes in the triangles, it can become a "fountain that
Apr 05, 2011 Peacegal rated it it was amazing
Like that other book about sentient shapes, The Missing Piece, Perfect Square is more than meets the eye.

The square starts out as just that—a red, four cornered shape. However, in the following pages, it is cut into tiny pieces, ripped into strips, and painted a variety of colors. With each new challenge from the unseen force, the square creates something new—and beautiful.

Ok, clearly this is a metaphor for the ways forces out of our control can utterly change our constitution in life, but we al
Lisa Vegan
Dec 30, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisa by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This is a square book about a square that undergoes many changes, of shape and of color.

Oh dear. I’ve seen so many books with the same concept as this one. But I guess I’m a sucker for such things because I really loved it, and it was done so, so well here.

The pictures are colorful and fabulous.

Maybe the message here is a tad trite, but it’s genuinely thought provoking and meaningful, and great fun too, and it manages to be given without being didactic.

I think introspective and thoughtful kids
Jun 12, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
Perfect Square by Michael Hall is an original look at shape, color, texture, change, adaption and transformation in a child friendly, appealing format.

A perfect red square is transformed in the gentle adventure story. When punched and cut, the red square changes itself into a fountain. When torn into scraps, the yellow square made itself into a garden. When shredded into strips, the green square becomes a park. When shattered, the blue-green square made itself into a bridge. When snipped into ri
Richie Partington
Nov 05, 2011 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
30 December 2010 PERFECT SQUARE by Michael Hall, Greenwillow, March 2011, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-06-191513-0

"I've got a square look I'll show you
I got four sides on me
All my sides are the same size
Like a good looking square should be"
-- Sesame Street, "It's Hip to be a Square"

"It was a perfect square. It had four matching corners and four equal sides. "And it was perfectly happy.
"But on Monday, the square was cut into pieces and poked full of holes. It wasn't a perfect square anymore.
"So it made i
Sep 05, 2014 Ann rated it it was amazing
Perfect Square is a metaphor of renewal, rebuilding and possibility. It is also illustrative and capitalizes on art, math & science in a fun and age appropriate way. The imaginative, multidimensional, and inspiring narrative is easily translatable to kids, classroom, patrons, and anyone's quest to renew and transform. I love this book even more because... Friends of MN Orchestra has commissioned music set to the story - premieres on Oct 25th at a fun community event that I'm co-chairing at O ...more
Dec 07, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
An engaging and thoughtful book about a square who is perfectly happy being a square. But it can't stay a "perfect square" forever as it is crumpled up, torn up, shredded, etc. Each time, though, the square maintains its optimistic and beauty-loving nature and transforms its tattered pieces into something new and lovely and meaningful. On the one hand, this is a very fun and unique shapes/colors/textures. On another level, it has some life lessons at heart!
Oct 27, 2011 Candice rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sophie - when she is a bit older
This book of minimal words and simple pictures, oozes creativity! What can you do with a square? If you cut it into pieces and poke it full of holes, you can make a fountain. If you tear it into scraps, you can make it into a garden. And so it goes with our perfect red square. I can imagine a child reading this and wanting to take a square and make all these different things from it. Definitely a book to exercise the imagination and get the creative juices flowing.
Jade Nguyen
Sep 15, 2011 Jade Nguyen rated it it was amazing

1. { Genre }: Concept

2. { Summary }: A perfect square is cut, shredded and torn into pieces to create objects and landscapes. On Tuesday, the square turned itself into a garden. On Wednesday, the square made itself into a park.

3a. { Area for comment }: Multifunctional

3b. { Critique }:
As much as I enjoyed the vibrant colors and abstract designs of The Perfect Square, I want to give credit to its more effective feature. The Perfect Square is multifunctional in the sense that it can teach more th
Each day of the week starts with a square (the color changes every day) that somehow gets ripped/cut/shredded and reinvents itself by making a work of art out of the pieces. At the end of the week all these creations come together.

It's deceptively simple, but covers a wide range of topics all at once: days of the week, colors, shapes, geography/landforms, and a lovely larger message about art and creation that you could push in a purely artistic direction or, if you're so inclined, a religious o
Apr 26, 2011 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
One perfect square is transformed again and again into something surprising and new. On Monday, the square had holes poked in it and was cut into pieces, so it became a fountain. On Tuesday, the square was torn into scraps, so it became a garden. Shredded strips became a park. Shattered shards became a bridge. Ribbons with curves became a river. Wrinkles and crumples became a mountain. Until finally, the square was just a square again and had to find a way to change within its four sides. The re ...more
Sarah Sammis
Jun 20, 2011 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
I spotted Perfect Square by Michael Hall on the new picture book shelf at the library. It has a fetching red cover with a big white grin and a multicolored title. The book is about a square who transforms itself each day into something beautiful after being somehow deconstructed.

The square is first cut up and holes punched out of its shape. It rearranges those pieces into a decorative fountain, using the circles as drops of water. A couple birds are drawn on in black line art to complete the eff
Rachael Vanderhoof
Feb 02, 2012 Rachael Vanderhoof rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott-award
Perfect Square is a fun and colorful picture book that takes readers on a shape-changing adventure. The shape begins as a simple, confined square and then throughout the week continues on a journey of rips, breaks, tears, and the building of different shapes/figures. It is a book that provides readers with a visual experience! It promotes both creativity and math (geometry). The colors are fun and eye-catching. The illustrations are creative, yet simple enough for a young child to comprehend. I ...more
Nov 19, 2010 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
A red square is very happy with his four perfect corners and four perfect sides. Then one day, he is cut into many pieces, and holes are punched in every part of him. Is he ruined forever? Nope. He rearranges himself into a babbling fountain. The next day he was torn into bits. So he arranged himself into a garden. Each day something new happens to the square and he realizes he's happier being creative than he was being "perfect".

I'll admit that the first time I read this book, I was annoyed th
May 31, 2011 Beverly rated it it was amazing
One perfect square is transformed over and over into a variety of creative pictures: a fountain, a park, a garden, and a mountain to name just a few of the transformations.

I ran across this book on a recent blogger hop. It was my "find" of the day.

This simple, yet beautiful book offers readers glimpse at art and inspiration. It inspires creativity with just a few simple changes. Hall's brief text allows the illustrations to tell most of the story. I especially like how the square reinvents itse
Amanda Vaughan
Oct 01, 2015 Amanda Vaughan rated it really liked it
Shelves: wow-books
What do you do when you think you are plain, boring, and ordinary? You transform yourself, whether in your mind or in reality, into something extraordinary!

How can something as simple as a square become as beautiful fountain, a raging river, or thriving garden? It's easy. The square steps out of the box and into the world of imagination.

This easy to read adventure book can be used to teach individuality, uniqueness, creativity, and color/shape recognition with younger grades as well as point o
Apr 05, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: preschool and up
Another simple, lovely book from the author of My Heart is Like a Zoo. You could get really philosophical about this title. I like Elizabeth Bird's take:

"If there’s a lesson to be learned from Perfect Square it’s that some people are content to remain in their perfect little boring roles until outside forces show them what they’re worth. The square in this book isn’t about to turn into a mountain or a window without a little push, after all. That first time he finds himself cut into pieces and p
I love this book. Hall has created a masterpiece with this one. Everything about the book works beautifully. The story and theme about dealing with the challenges that life can throw at you is spot on. The design of the book suits the story to a tee. The way the colors compliment each other and the creative illustrations add so much to the appeal of the book. Often one doesn't find a lot of character growth in a picture book, the story is often too short, especially if the characters aren't huma ...more
Apr 19, 2011 Ashleigh rated it it was amazing
Perfect Square is (in my opinion) so much more than a simple children's book. Though it is marketed as a book for youngsters, many adults will appreciate the depth of the story. I suppose everyone will interpret it differently but I see it as a powerful story of a square who is torn apart over and over again, and instead of giving up or wallowing in sadness, the square chooses to create something beautiful out of the pieces. If people can look beyond the colorful pictures and short length, there ...more
May 19, 2011 Nielson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a must for any library collection! It all starts with a perfectly perfect square, but day after day the square is cut and poked and torn and shattered so it has to transform itself into something new each time. This book works well on so many levels. The bold colors and easy text will attract little ones. The shapes and art will attract others. And still the deeper meaning of the book--that we are sometimes twisted and shredded and snipped yet we can still transform ourselves into someth ...more
Sep 27, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing
Summary: This book is about all the things you can do with just a square. You can hole-punch it, cut it, rip it, tear it, and crumple it or anything else that you choose. Each page shows a different way you could make a square look.
Audience: K-2
Appeal: This book encourages creativity and imagination. It also have vivid pictures.
Implementation: This book would be fun to read and then pass out a single colored square to each student and have them do whatever they want to it and then display their
Jun 02, 2012 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
Age: Toddler - Preschool
Shapes, Days of the week

A smooth flowing, brightly portrayed life of the square. At first happy with its life, the square is cut, torn, shredded, shattered, snipped, and wrinkled each day of the week. Each alteration, the square takes a new form to make a fountain, mountain, garden, etc. On Sunday, nothing happens and feeling confined by his perfect sides the square takes it upon himself to change.

This picture book for babies and toddlers encompasses many early literacy c
Oct 15, 2011 Relyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: spotted at the library
I can hardly wait for school to start back so I can use this book. It's THAT good. I mean it, I just got out of school for the summer and I want to go back to use this with my students.

Lesson Connections
~ Math - introduction to characteristics of shapes
~ Class Project - make a similar book
~ Writing - using a published book to inspire a similar one of your own; remembering to give credit to the author who inspired you

More importantly, this is a perfect book for pure fun and imagination.
Holly Thompson
Jan 08, 2013 Holly Thompson rated it it was amazing
I love this. It's a great way to say how to make lemons into lemonade or look at the sunny side of the street or look for the silver lining in the cloud. It is about a square that gets damaged essentially and makes himself into something better each time. I would love to see how teachers could use this with older kids for art or writing or geometry even to take a piece of paper of different shapes and alter/repurpose them into some something artistic. I just love the imagination of this artist i ...more
Gulzar Malji
May 09, 2012 Gulzar Malji rated it really liked it
A lovely story about a 'perfect' square that gets poked full of holes until it transforms into a fountain. It carries on changing into various different objects such as a bubbling fountain, a park, a bridge and even a river. The square changed so much that it eventually turns back into a perfect square.

A great way for EYFS and KS1 children to learn about shapes and also to develop their KUW. I loved the colourful pictures as they are good for engaging children. It is also a great way to link to
Patricia Powell
Feb 08, 2013 Patricia Powell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A red square gets cut up, so it transforms itself into a fountain, the scraps become a garden, changing colors, it becomes a park and keeps transforming until it is a square again, but now being a square is confining, so it becomes a window to see and connect to all the transformations it has been. This colorful satisfying book brought to mind a childhood book which I hadn't thought about in approximately a hundred year: Going for a Walk With a Line. Now I have to look that up and see if it's tr ...more
Dec 08, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
In this story, a perfect little square is torn, cut, shredded into different pieces on each page, with the results being utilized to make something beautiful. The square changes color with each day of the week, following the colors of the rainbow. After seeing all of the fun things that could be done with a square, the square was not happy anymore until it turned itself into a rainbow colored window through which the reader can see all of the things made with the earlier squares turned into a ha ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Brianna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
Gorgeous. If I were an early childhood educator or elementary art teacher, I would bring this book into my classroom tomorrow and use it for a whole unit on shapes, and then use it to inspire several art projects. So simple yet so creative. I loved the painted, textured square and its subsequent forms - I see some inspiration from Eric Carle in the various incarnations of the square. This would be great to read aloud with a small class (so that all of the students could see the pictures) or as a ...more
We start with a square that is perfectly happy with it's four equal sides and corners. On Monday it is changed into pieces so it made itself into a fountain with bubbling water. The changes continue for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday the square is waiting to see what will happen. When nothing happens the square becomes sad and frustrated that it is stuck with it's confining equal sides and corners. So it makes itself into a window which looks out on...

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Michael Hall is the creator of the nationally best-selling picture book My Heart Is Like a Zoo, as well as the acclaimed Perfect Square. He is the co-owner and principal designer at Hall Kelley, Inc., and lives with his family in Minnesota.
More about Michael Hall...

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