Sunday, May 22, 2016

What Could It Be?

What Could It Be?
written and illustrated by Sally Fawcett
2016 (EK Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

This is a parasol down by the sea. Can you find a black octagon? Can you find a purple octagon? Can you find a brown octagon? How many other octagons can you find?

You're an ambitious parent. You want your child to learn their colors and shapes so they can secure that Ivy League acceptance letter in twelve years. Wandering through a store, you eyeball a set of flash cards with shapes. A little practice each day and before long your little one will be able to explain the Pythagorean theorem. Fight the urge to pick up that pack of lifeless cards. You can do much better than that. Instead, find a copy of What Could It Be? and have a good bedtime math read. Written by a teacher, this charming picture book is an interactive search for shapes in the real world. Illustrated with vivid colors, What Could It Be? features seven shapes. Each shape is introduced with the opposite page asking "What else could it be?". The first two page spread has sparse illustrations to set up the reader for the blast of hues that come in the second two page spread. For example, after drawing a circle, a child looks at a snail trailing away from a bowl of fruit and asks "What else could it be?" Turn the page, and a gorgeous garden appears with circles abounding in many places. The reader is encouraged to find different colored circles. Squares are featured in a grandmother's living room and triangles in a snowy mountain scene. Placing the shapes in familiar settings encourages children to make connections in their world. They will probably be looking for shapes around them before they even finish the book.

In a preK - 1st grade classroom, you could have a shape hunt after reading What Could It Be? Inspired by the back cover, your students could use watercolors to paint a picture featuring a particular shape. The author, being a teacher, has provided a ton of resources on this page including teacher notes and several art activities. Students can upload their illustrations to this website as well. Sally Fawcett deserves a round (or square) of applause for this fine effort.


  1. A helpful review from the perspective of a caring, child-centered teacher. It's fascinating to think of introducing basic math concepts in such an enticing way, particularly in bedtime story mode. Delightful! Thank you.

  2. Thanks for that great review Jeff!


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