Picture Book Snob
It’s more fun when we’re together
The Perfect Fit by Naomi and James Jones, Oxford University Press
What's it about?
We have been meaning to share a review of this amazing debut for months. By a talented author-illustrator team who are also married, this is a delightful tale about a triangle's quest to find friends who look just like her. She meets circles, squares, hexagons and stars who are all very welcoming. Triangle enjoys their company but never feels like she truly belongs. Will Triangle ever meet shapes that are identical to her, or will she realise that she doesn't have to be exactly like everyone else to fit in?
What can we learn?
There's so much to learn! This introduces children to colours and shapes but also emphasises the importance of diversity and inclusion. We discover appearances aren't always what they seem and understand why we shouldn't place too much importance on them. The Perfect Fit teaches us to embrace our differences and the differences of others too.
What makes this stand out? It's a deceptively simple story which can be enjoyed on many levels, with a wonderful message and joyful illustrations.
About the illustrations...
The images are incredibly colourful, bright, and bold, with striking patterns that even babies will be drawn towards. Those little shapes are just so cute; I love their facial expressions, how content they look and all the speech bubbles. Triangle's freckles are adorable, and I love her little arms and legs, but all the characters are incredibly endearing. The games they play and the formations they make are really clever, original and visually interesting.
Why we love it...
It's an extraordinary story which manages to be gentle and powerful all at once. It teaches valuable lessons yet remains light-hearted and entertaining throughout. It demonstrates the importance of mixing with others and not being biased, using the premise of a search for belonging that will resonate with all readers.
Playground politics can be complicated and this is perfect for helping the very young learn to interact more harmoniously. It will reassure children who are struggling socially by demonstrating how everyone eventually finds their place. It's also a great eye-opener for those who exclude others from games as it shows how they might be missing out on lots of fun.
It's brilliant how Triangle never changes anything about herself nor suggests that the other shapes transform either. I love how this subtly teaches little people to stay true to themselves and be more tolerant of others. Without spoiling anything, I found the final scene quite moving. It emphasises that no matter how outwardly different we may seem, the world's a more beautiful place when we all come together.
Why you need it... The Perfect Fit uses concepts that are easily understood to explore more complex issues. Ideal for preparing children for school and helping them to adjust, this book is a fantastic resource for families and classrooms. Destined to become a classic, it's the perfect fit for every bookshelf. This story might even teach adults a thing or two — we could all do with being a bit more like Triangle!
About the author:
Naomi Jones has loved stories for as long as she can remember and has always wanted to write books. She worked in rights in children’s publishing for over eight years. Naomi is now a freelance editor and the children’s book reviewer for popular blog, Mini Travellers. Naomi loves to travel and once spent a month living with Navajo Indians in America. She also enjoys reading, playing netball and practising yoga. Follow them on Instagram to see more of their work and find out about upcoming releases.
About the illustrator: James Jones is an award-winning freelance Art Director and Designer working with publishers and clients all around the world. James’ work has been recognised by AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), Type Directors Club, Design Observer and the ABCD (The Academy of British Cover Design) awards amongst others. James was named as one of the Bookseller’s 2014 Rising Stars, its annual list of the best and brightest young talent in publishing. Follow them on Instagram to see more of their work and find out about upcoming releases.
The Perfect Fit was published by Oxford University Press in March 2021 - see this book on the publisher's website
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