Shape Shifter: Perfect Square by Michael Hall
IT WAS A PERFECT SQUARE.
AND IT WAS PERFECTLY HAPPY.
With nothing more than a square--and a wiggly line, which forms the perfect square's opening proud grin--the creative Michael Hall is off again on an exploration of the possibilities of geometric shapes, this time limiting himself to the perfect square, solid, symmetrical, and, as we see, in the hands of a truly creative writer, endowed with endless possibilities.
To begin, Hall slices his square diametrically, producing large and smaller and smaller trapezoids and a couple of equilateral triangles, ventilated with round holes. But what can he make of those?
Why, a fountain--sprinkled with water bubbles, a refreshing idea.
On Tuesday, Hall takes the familiar square and tears it by hand into rough-edged strips, and of that and the line he grows a garden of long-stemmed flowers. Wednesday finds the square shredded to form the landscape of a park, complete with a kite in flight.
In turn the square is shattered into triangular shards to form a bridge, cut into strips to shape it into a river, and on Saturday it is crumpled and wrinkled to make itself into a mountain range. At last on Sunday, the square waits to see what the creator's hand will do next.
ITS FOUR EQUAL SIDES WERE CONFINING.
ITS FOUR MATCHING CORNERS WERE RIGID AND CRAMPED.
But design master Michael Hall has one more surprise for the reader when the square's sad frown transforms itself into windowpanes--a window with quite a view of the full landscape created during the week.
Michael Hall, whose masterful creative hand made a menagerie of the much-misused heart shape in his notable My Heart Is Like a Zoo, gives the perfection of the square its due in his brand-new Perfect Square (Greenwillow, 2011), a book which is uniquely beautiful, a lesson in geometry, and a take-off point for endless art and craft activities as well. As Publishers Weekly puts it persuasively, "A smart lesson in thinking outside the box (or the square)."