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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
From a Rectangle is an educational concept picture book for children written by Najah A. Jabbar and illustrated by Craig Ledger. It was nothing more than a rectangle drawn on a sheet of paper until a hand turned it onto its side. Adding in two upper windows (more rectangles) and curtains made the rectangle begin to take on the image of a house. The triangle made of sloping lines above the rectangle gave the house a roof, and two smaller parallel lines formed a chimney. Suddenly, the lines made a house a reality. Lizzy was the artist who designed her house from the original rectangle. She loved her creation and wanted to move into it with her cat, Binti. But the house wouldn’t let her enter. Even after she planted flowers and a tree, and had a golden sun beam down on the house, it refused to grant her access. What was wrong? How could she fix it?
Najah A. Jabbar’s From a Rectangle introduces mathematics and artistic design to young readers while challenging them to figure out why Lizzy couldn’t get into her house. I loved seeing how the author builds the house starting with a basic rectangle and gives it dimension, warmth and an interior as the story proceeds, and can imagine what will be going on in kids’ heads when they see what are essentially step-by-step instructions on how to draw a house. Teachers and caregivers can extend the challenge by asking young ones to figure out other structures and objects that can be created starting with the basic shape. Craig Ledger’s excellent illustrations work perfectly with the story and provide kids with all the guidelines they need to start drawing and coloring in. From a Rectangle is highly recommended.