This is a book review, but not the normal kind we run on this site. For one thing, Tilly hasn’t read it yet, so it’s just me marvelling at how wonderful and fun this book is (it arrived today when Mummy was home and Tilly was at the zoo with Grandma, so I guess we both had a fun and productive day). The book is Watch This! by Jane Godwin, Beci Orpin, and Hilary Walker, three Australian creatives.
Unlike most picture books we read and own, this is a photographic picture book, and it’s all about shapes. But it’s more than just about shapes! It’s about movement and energy and co-operation and being a bit silly with your friends. There is a cast of some number of children and they pose on sets built by designer Beci Orpin. The children either alone or as groups pose as various shapes, and the text guides the reader to see what kinds of shapes the children’s bodies are forming. They can make circles with their arms; three children laying down strategically can be a triangle; they can make a wavy line if they all stand in a row and hold hands.
I love this book for a few reasons. One, I love the idea of using bodies and photos to explore the concepts of shapes. Two, I love the diversity of children represented in the book. Three, I love how beautifully designed it is, and how it captures the joy and fun of childhood and movement. And finally, and the reason that prompted me to write this post, I love seeing familiar exercise moves renamed as shapes. Like how a side plank is a triangle made by Izzy, a back bend is a semi-circle made by Edie, if three kids line up in a row and do a downward dog, you get a zig zag, and a wheelbarrow is just a fun thing to do with a friend.
So really, I see this as more than a book about shapes. It is, but it’s also a book that is subtly about movement and exercise, about friendship and co-operation, and about how much fun learning about and experiencing all of those things can be.