So I am already kind of cheating with this Favorite New Picture Book countdown as this book technically came out in 2017. But I did not see it until recently and I just love it so much, I have to include it as a beautiful gift-giving option! Today’s book is Round by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, 2017.

What is it about?

The book opens with the phrase “I love round things.” There is a little girl in polka dot shortalls and a sun hat and rainboots reaching for an orange under a blazing circular sun. The rest of the page is stark white. The girl is bending down to pick up the orange. She is leaning into the book, gesturing full body as if rolling towards the page turn and almost round in shape herself. This is the brilliance that unfolds in this entire book.

Every page turn greets you with a stunning spread of vibrant color, delicately thought-out illustration, and an abundance of round. As if the beauty isn’t enough, it is joined with Sidman’s text which is equally beautiful in its eloquence, simplicity, and descriptiveness. She speaks of the smoothness of round things, how round things grow, how some start off sharp and wear down to round. This book is science by observation. It is a list, and an invitation to think and experience with her. It is childlike in expression, and richly deep in collection.

We follow along with the girl through many experiences: berry-picking, canoeing, skipping rocks, blowing bubbles, observing the moon and stars, and so much more. She describes things she likes to touch and see that are round, and then how she too can be round and warm and inviting.

Why I picked it

Somehow this book is informative and poetic all at the same time. It is magical. I love the expertly designed illustrations. I nerd-out over the perfectly chosen typeface with its round edges and letter shapes. The color palette is bold and precise; brilliantly colorful, but not overwhelming. Though I would be perfectly content with the text and illustrations alone, I appreciate the extra effort with a note in the back about why so many things in nature are round. Such a thoughtful addition, perfectly positioned to not distract from the storytelling, but add another layer for the inquisitive reader.

Who will love this?

This book is lovely and magical and a delight to gift anyone, I especially think 3-7 year olds are going to be particularly drawn to it. The age of the children in the book, the observations and awe expressed – these things point to that special age of early childhood where all learning is best done through play. The thoughtful note in the back pushes it older in content, but the overall feel of the book is not too old and not too young.

Bonus Gift Pairings

This book lends itself to so many great themed gift ideas. A simple set of marbles and a classic stress ball would be my top picks. Perhaps an orange too for the oft traditional stocking stuffer. A notebook for tracking all the favorite round things discovered would also be thoughtful. I might even consider this mosaic wooden puzzle or a Spirograph set!

Come back tomorrow for the next favorite book from this year in our 25 Days of Favorite New Picture Books countdown!