Tag Archives: Michael Hall

Perfect Square

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Perfect Square

by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2011

Perfect Square starts with a red square on Monday and on each day of the week he explores all the things you can make from different color squares.  From a red square, he shapes a fountain that babbles, giggles and claps.  He shapes an orange square into flowers and a green square into a park.  Young ones can guess (or remember) the cut up shapes of each square and what they turn into.  A surprise at the end reviews all the shapes.  The colors are bright and vivid, the shapes are clever and simple.  A delight to explore while learning colors, shapes, and days of the week.

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Red, A Crayon’s Story

Red, A Crayon’s Story
by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2015

Mislabeled, a red crayon cannot perform as others expect him to.  When he draws a fire engine and it is not red, his teacher says he needs more practice.  Yellow suggests they make an orange, but it turns an unexpected green.  “He’s got to press harder,” says Army Green.  But, alas, Red just can’t make the color red.

Then one day, Berry sees Red for who he really is and asks him to make an ocean for his boat.  Red says he cannot, but Berry encourages him to do so.  Red finally does and he makes a wonderful blue ocean.  Accepted for who he is and able to express himself freely, Red makes a bluebird, a blue whale, blueberries and even a glorious blue sky!  He is free to be himself, at last!

Living my life as an extrovert instead of the quiet child I am, I understood this story on an intuitive level.  I loved it!  It speaks to anyone who is trying to be someone they are not.

Read the many reviews on Amazon from teachers and librarians who have had great success using the story as a teaching point on differences.

If you like this review, check out Exclamation Mark, which follows a similar theme of fitting in when you’re different.

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My Heart Is Like a Zoo

My Heart is Like a Zoo
By Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2009

My Heart is Like a Zoo bursts with vivid colors, fresh rhymes and twenty-one zoo animals cleverly illustrated with hearts.  More than three hundred hearts in the book! Fresh metaphorical rhymes act as directional signs in a zoo, enticing a reader deeper and deeper into the animal menagerie. Each rhyme depicts an aspect of the heart, such as ‘eager’, ‘hopeful’, and ‘rugged’.  Early readers learn affirmations of the heart.  They learn about animals, how to find shapes and they practice counting.  The book finished with the ‘zookeeper’ happily tuckered out while his zoo animals wait on the shelf for the next day of play.

Author/illustrator Michael Hall uses sixteen hearts to illustrate, “…quiet as a caterpillar wearing knitted socks.”  He uses another sixteen hearts to illustrate “…bothered as a bull with a hornet in its hair.”  Hall is a professional graphic designer, and it shows in his work.  His images are simple, yet compelling.  Each one comes to life on the page.  Children with an artistic or engineering sense will study each animal to see how hearts can be transformed into animals.  This is Hall’s first children’s book, and we’re sure to see many more books from this talented writer/illustrator.

Originally published in San Francisco Book Review

See more reviews on Amazon

See more reviews on Amazon