Sometimes, a book has to sit in your mind for a few days before you can really appreciate it. That’s how it was for me with Square, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s forthcoming book, the follow-up to Triangle.
I came to the book expecting more mischief and sneaky tricks, and I didn’t get that at all. (Although, Triangle is noticeably absent. Who knows what happened when Square got himself unstuck from Triangle’s door. We do know that Jon Klassen doesn’t shy away from grizzly murders. Just saying. It might be worth looking into.)
We open the book and find Square free from the confines of Triangle’s door. (We can assume that he lost weight due to starvation, and eventually just fell, right?) He’s busy doing his Square thing (pushing rocks around) and Circle approaches and assumes that he’s up to something else. (We just met him, and I already like this Circle guy. He assumes the best of people.) I won’t say anything else, I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say that initially, I didn’t know what to think about it. It wasn’t what I expected. I was looking for more of the lighthearted meanness of Triangle, which I loved, and that would have entertained me, but it would really just have been Triangle II. A good second book in a series does something entirely new. Instead of that funny spite, we get kindness, a character trying to learn something new, perseverance and a big surprise.
After the seeds of the book burst open in my mind and took root, I began to appreciate Square more and more. That appreciation grew and brought me to where I am today, where I can honestly say that I love this book. It isn’t Triangle, and it isn’t trying to be. It’s Square. New, bold, and funny in a different way. Barnett and Klassen have improved the series, and I can’t wait to read this book with my students.
Look for it on May 8. Until then, read Triangle again. After all, it is a 2018 ALSC Notable book. 🙂