Picture book makers Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen go back to basics – the elemental shape of a story – in Triangle.
Triangle sets out one day to play a trick on his friend, Square. But does Square have a plan of his own?
Triangle is the first book in a trilogy so it does feel quite open-ended but like the best picture books you can look for your own answers (I personally don’t believe Square).
In a board casing with thick paper pages that feel saturated with Klassen’s colours the book has an iconic look and is a joy to handle.
Triangle, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, published by Walker, is out now.
With the recent announcement of the 2014 Caldecott honours, I got to thinking about last year’s Caldecott medal winner – and one of my all-time favourite books – This Is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen.
It’s kind of an underwater picture book version of No Country for Old Men. A small fish steals something that doesn’t belong to him and – without any fanfare – is on the run from the big fish. There are no overt messages, no judgements of any kind. Just the inevitability of actions having consequences.
Spare and suspenseful, this is a picture book par excellence and an amazing work of art. The underwater tableaux are reminiscent of the way painter Paul Klee creates surreal scenes from simple blocks of colour. And then there is Klassen’s sly humour, found in the counter play between words and images (we hear the little fish say he’s sure the sleeping big fish won’t wake up just as we see a large eye opening).
No matter how you imagine the story plays out in the dense foliage of the final spreads, I think we can all agree the fish looked pretty darn sharp in that hat.
This is Not my Hat, by Jon Klassen, published by Walker books, is available now.