Shapes and Colours


John Canty, Shapes and Colours, Berbay Publishing, July 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780648529187

This early learning concept book is by award winning author/illustrator John Canty. Its multi-tiered format introduces young readers to the colours of the rainbow, and challenges children to identify various objects from their silhouettes, including animals, plants, food, vehicles, household objects and more.

From the glossy cover, readers know they are in for a visual treat. Appealing realistic illustrations are set against a stark white background in a striking design feature reminiscent of the early learning photographic concept books by DK.

Double page spreads show a range of object outlines filled in with a particular colour. What’s red? asks one page, showing eight red anonymous objects set against a white background. The next page identifies the objects in realistic illustrations set against a vivid red background. Each object is also labelled in upper case: rose, fire truck, ladybug, cherries, hair ribbon and more.

After all seven colours have been covered, children are invited to identify the colours in a spread of a cityscape, followed by a spread of the countryside.

The end papers are also used effectively. The front ones challenge children to identify seven silhouettes; each a particular colour of the rainbow. The back ones show a rainbow with the seven colours labelled.

From sea star to safety vest, this book offers plenty for young children to explore alone or with a carer. Its bright, bold design is sure to appeal to young eyes.

Reviewed by Julie Murphy

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