It’s no secret that I love concept books which challenge toddlers and explore things beyond basic letters, numbers, colours, etc. So it’s always a thrill for me to find a book that not only reaches beyond the basics, but is beautiful and engaging to boot.
Tell Me About Colors, Shapes, and Opposites (first published in France as Raconte-moi les forms, les chiffres, les couleurs) is exactly that—and, as far as I’m concerned, an absolute must-have for any baby or toddler’s bookshelf.
Divided into sections with lead-in prompts such as “Where Are You Hiding” and “What Shapes Do You See,” each segment answers a question with lovely pictures labeled to indicate the concepts being depicted.
And while the concepts covered do include basic colours and shapes, they also encompass many ideas that are essential parts of our daily lives, but are normally overlooked by early concept books. For example, while “What Shapes Do You See” includes the usual square, rectangle, circle, etc., it also introduces patterns such as checks, stripes, and dots. Similarly “When Are You Going” includes both times of day and the idea of “before, during, and after”.
Best of all, for parents weary of the same old thing, the illustrations are far from the standard baby-book fare of generic-looking, mass-produced art. Aurélie Guillerey’s bright splashes of colour on grayscale images are eye-catching and sure to keep a little one’s attention, and her stark shapes and simple lines give the book a sweet, old-fashioned feel that manages to avoid being overly cutesy.