What happens when shapes reshape? A stacked collection of various rectangles morphs into snakes, “sneakily slithering,” or “pinchy” crabs, “nip-your-nose nipping.” Though ostensibly a counting book, decreasing from ten to one, Silvia Borando’s clever Shapes, Reshape! (Candlewick, $14) features wordplay as rich and playful as its rectangular rearrangements. Young readers will adore contributing the repeated phrase “what could they be?” and predicting what animal appears next based on clues like “clucky” and “roary.” This nimble picture book works well as a read-aloud in early-childhood classrooms as well as at home, offering infinite possibilities to the geometrically, linguistically, and artistically inclined. Ages 3-5.
When a teacher asks a diverse group of schoolchildren to describe what makes their families special, one child blushes and tucks her arms beneath her desk, fearful that her family is unlike anyone else’s. But as she listens to classmates describe their families—new babies, grandparents, single parents, blended families, two moms, and even a bunch of “terrible singers”— she comes to realize that A Family Is a Family Is a Family (Groundwood, $17.95), simultaneously unique and similar in love. Sara O’Leary’s warm, humorous dialogue couples seamlessly with Qin Leng’s lively illustrations to create a big-hearted, highly affecting look at families. Ages 3-8.
Subways, sushi, bakers, and stonemasons: urban personalities and adventures await young city dwellers in a set of new board and picture books. A multigenerational team jaunts through colorful retro illustrations and the diverse wonders of metropolitan life in Cityblock (Abrams Appleseed, $16.95), the latest offering from author/illustrator duo Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo. Ages 2-5.