Pick a Circle, Gather Squares

Pick a Circle, Gather SquaresPick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes arrived with crisp apples and the school bus September 2013. My first book, it’s the first in a series of rhyming picture books published by Albert Whitman & Company. Pick a Circle, Gather Squares takes a colorful hayride with a family who find an abundance of harvest shapes—and the perfect pumpkin!—at their local farm. Fall is my favorite season. Visiting county farm stands, farmers markets, and fall festivals in New Jersey with my family inspired me to write this book. I’m excited to celebrate and share this “shapely” vision of the harvest! The second in the series, Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting, sprouted at bookstores spring 2014, followed by Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color in fall 2014, and Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites in spring 2015. The series is wonderfully illustrated by Susan Swan.

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2015-2016 Goldfinch Award Nominess★ With brightly colored pictures, Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes cleverly blends the study of shapes into activities of the autumn season. After a few short introductory pages that set the narrative at a pumpkin farm, individual shapes are introduced on double page spreads. The reader is encouraged to find the shapes in various objects within the pictures. Some of the shapes are rather unusual; while circles, squares and rectangles are introduced, so are ovals, diamonds, hexagons, hearts and stars. This book would be useful for making connections to mathematics and science lessons for the very youngest learners. For instance, the use of the word “cube” on the pages that deal with squares could lead to a mathematics lesson on three dimensional objects. A look at hexagons could lead to a science lesson on bees and beehives. The rhyming narrative should appeal to those who can read independently and the challenge of finding shapes within the pictures should appeal to all. This would be a welcome addition to supplemental libraries for preschool through grade 2.—Ellen McCabe, Associate Librarian, Emeritus, Binghamton, New YorkScience Books & Films,  a journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, February 2014

Chernesky debuts with an autumnal picture book that prompts readers to find shapes in a pumpkin patch as they accompany a visiting family. “Gather ovals! Squash and corn./ Speckled eggs nest in the barn,” she writes as Swan deploys an array of patterns and textures—wood grain, filigree, photographs of hay—in an interior scene with plenty of ovoid eggs, prize ribbons, and corn kernels for kids to point out. Chicken wire hexagons, a triangular slice of apple pie, and scarecrows dressed in polka dots and plaid add to the homey, down-on-the-farm mood, and Chernesky’s bubbly rhymes keep the story moving swiftly. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Susan Hawk, the Bent Agency. (Sept.) —Publishers Weekly

PreS-Gr 2–It’s autumn and a father and his two children are off to the pumpkin patch. On their way, the youngsters notice all of the different shapes associated with fall: “On our hayride to the patch/while we bump along we’ll match/different shapes to what we see./Will you harvest them with me?” The rhyme scheme flows smoothly and would be great fun as a read-aloud. The cut-paper collages are a standout, rich in texture, and with a vibrant seasonal palette. A wide variety of shapes is covered, including some unusual ones: ”hexagons in honeycombs/and chicken wire where foxes roam.” While there are many books about shapes and many about autumn and pumpkin picking, this effective combination of the two deserves a place on most shelves.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ, School Library Journal

Visiting farm markets and fall festivals with her family inspired the author to write this rhymed picture book about fall, which is the first in a series of books from the publisher. Father, son, and daughter are on a hayride visit to the pumpkin patch. Along the way, they observe all kinds of autumnal objects and sources for shapes. The author/illustrator team goes beyond basic shapes like circles and squares to include ovals, hexagons, triangles, and more. Swan’s use of texture through paper-cut collages, filigree, wood grain, and photographs add a vibrant touch to the text. Beginning readers will appreciate that the shape words and their counterparts are in bold print and teachers will enjoy the addition of a mathematical introduction to geometric shapes with a fall theme. Watch for the 2014 release of the companion book, Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting.—Karen Hildebrand, Ohio Library and Reading Consultant, International Reading Association: The World’s Leading Organization of Literacy Professionals

On an “Apple crisp October day,” a father and two children take a trip to a pumpkin farm to Pick a Circle, Gather Squares (Albert Whitman, 2013; PreS-Gr 2). Felicia Sanzari Chernesky’s rhyming text and Susan Swan’s harvest-hued collages depict a delightful excursion as the youngsters point out circles (“Here’s the sun./Apples, pumpkins—/such round fun!”), square-shaped bales of hay, ovals (squash, corn, and speckled eggs), hexagons (honeycombs and pen-protecting chicken wire), and more. Filled with splashes of bright color and appealing textures, the artwork depicts lively action, engaging details, and additional shapes to find. Joy Fleishhacker, “Basic Concepts: Seeking Colors, Shapes, and Patterns in Our World,” School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—On an “Apple crisp October day,” a father and two children visit a farm where they discover a bounty of autumn produce and fun-to-find shapes. On each spread, robust rhymes highlight a particular shape (“Here’s the sun./Apples, pumpkins—/such round fun!”), and the eye-catching collage illustration presents numerous objects that expand the concept (a wagon wheel, donuts, etc.). This interactive romp is a reminder to youngsters to look for shapes, colors, and patterns in their day-to-day world.Joy Fleishhacker, “Fall Fun: Great Books about Autum,” School Library Journal

Poet Felicia Sanzari Chernesky seeks to arouse children’s interests in the many shapes that may be found in an autumn landscape. Colorfully illustrated in seasonal colors by Susan Swan, the poet and artist successfully achieve their goal of entertainment and education for children four to seven years old. —Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden. The Lenhardt Library of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Book Reviews 

Chernesky takes readers on a visit to the pumpkin patch to hunt for the varied shapes that define the  autumn season. Simple rhyming text is used to describe the shapes that can be found amidst the scenery at a farm on an “apple crisp October day.” Oval eggs, rectangular bales of hay, and even hexagonal chicken wire are a few of the shapes to be discovered. Swan’s colorfully detailed collage style illustrations invite an opportunity for kids to study the pictures carefully in search of the shapes that are depicted. While the story would be an enjoyable fall read aloud, the amount of detail might make it challenging for kids to find the objects unless they are sitting close by. No doubt readers will want to check this out for a firsthand closer look.—Kristine Seibert, Librarian, 10th & Green Elementary, Kutztown University, Library Science Program, Spring BookReview, March 25, 2104

Vivid illustrations and simple text team up to highlight the beautiful shapes of an autumn trip to the pumpkin patch. —“Information Sources: Children and Nature,” Elizabeth C. Miller Library, University of Washington Botanic Gardens

Bright, bold illustrations fill this book that will take you to a pumpkin farm to find fall shapes! You’ll find circles, squares, ovals, and so many other shapes on the farm as you travel along on this fall harvest tour!  Albert Whitman & Company, $16.99; ages 3-7—Jennifer Galvin, “Great Reads: November 2013,”  Red River Family

So many early literacy concepts in this unassuming picture book! The simply-written, two-line rhymes use unusual words to convey meaning. Talk about those interesting words (cube, ovals, darting) and try using them in everyday conversation. Also, point out print in the illustrations and talk about why it might be important. Finally, shapes are the building blocks of letters and this whole book encourages kids to look for shapes. JoCoLibrary-6 by 6-Highly Recommended-September 2013, Greater Victoria Public Library

The shapes of the autumn season are introduced for young readers in this fun celebration of fall. Harvesting pumpkins, apples and more helps little ones learn their shapes as well as some of the signs of the turning of the seasons. Cindi Rose, “Fall Books and Learning Activities for Preschoolers,” Examiner.com

Another fantastic new fall book is Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes written by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky and illustrated by Susan Swan. This is a great book that not only celebrates the season but explores shapes. It’s a fun way to introduce this important first concept. The rhyming text is a delight to read and the illustrations truly capture the bright, colorful days of fall. I see lots of books about shapes but Pick a Circle, Gather Squares is a unique and timely picture book that stands alone. It’s already a favorite of mine to recommend to parents and preschool teachers looking for books about the fall as well as shapes. It definitely deserves a spot on your book shelf. “Fall Frenzy,” The Broken Spine—An Ode to Well-Loved Kid Lit

Visiting a pumpkin patch is fun, but finding shapes hiding within it is even better. Circles and triangles, squares and hexagons (and more!) can be seen by careful readers.  Short, rhyming text with quilt-like illustrations make this cozy shape-filled book a winner. And after last week’s class trip to a pumpkin patch, this was an ideal read-aloud.  Share with ages 3-6.“Read Aloud Tuesday: October 14, 2014,” Librarian Arika

There are a lot of books about shapes. There are a lot of books about autumn. There are a lot of books about pumpkin patches, hayrides, and fall fun. This book combines all these using collage illustrations and clever rhyming verses.

One “apple crisp” October day, a daddy takes his young son and daughter and their little black Scotty dog to the local pumpkin patch. There are so many fun things to see and do there. To get to the patch, they have to ride in a hay wagon, and the excited youngsters discover all sorts of shapes along the way. The reader is invited to harvest the shapes, too!

The wagon has round wheels, and more circles can be found in baskets of apples, yummy donuts, fluttering balloons, sunflower centers, and, of course, the sun. Square bales of hay are easy to spot, but ovals are more of a challenge… until hidden speckled eggs are discovered in the barn, along with tubs of squash and handfuls of colorful corn kernels. Rectangles are easy too, in wooden crates and barn doors. Diamond shapes grace the sky as kites fly by, while hexagons are spotted on honeycombs and chicken coop wire. Triangles remind dad about wedges of apple pie, and stars stand out on apple cider jars and autumn mums.

But most of all, there are the pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere. Can you find them all? Big ones, small ones, even Halloween decorated ones!—Mackin BookTalk, TeachingBooks.net

Flavor: colorful, educational

The Scoop: With outstanding collage artwork and simple, rhyming text, this story covers both 2D and 3D shapes. A great reminder to be on the lookout for shapes on a real fall field trip.“Positive Picture Books about Pumplins,” Not a Perfect Homeschool Mom!

Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, illustrated by Susan Swan is a study of shapes. With the rhyming text, the father and children find different shapes of all sizes while they are on their autumn excursion. The illustrations are simply wonderful. I love texture and color and Susan Swan really has winning pictures. There are layers and textures, color and more texture and layers. The art is done with digital cut paper, and mixed media. Concepts Wednesday,” Picture Book Palooza

On a crisp fall day a family takes a trip to the pumpkin farm. Told in rhyme, always fun to read, the family takes a hayride through the farm discovering shapes along the way. Some of the shapes are obvious with clues where to start in the text. “Gather ovals! Squash and corn. Speckled eggs nest in the barn.” Other shapes are cleverly hidden in the illustrations and will challenge more observant readers. This simple fall story will keep kids interest as they examine the pages for shapes. Lots of fun!—Kirkwood Public Library, Children’s Area, Feed a Reader

This book not only scratches your seasonal itch, but teaches students about shapes at the same time! Take a family trip to the pumpkin patch. Jump on a hayride, pick a pumpkin, and name all of the shapes you find in the fall scenery.—Karen Cameron, “5 ‘Falltacular’ Read-Alouds,” Classroom 2.0

A dad and two kids are off on a October expedition—not to the playground or to get haircuts, but to the farm to fetch home some pumpkins. They climb out of their car and into a hay wagon pulled by a big green tractor and bounce off down the lane, following the signs and looking for shapes. Even the sign that says PUMPKINS is a rectangle, and there are rectangles all around, bits of bark flaking from the tree trunk, hay bales, the lattice on the wagon’s sides, even the sides of houses. Circle shapes are everywhere, too—apples, the top and bottom of apple baskets, wagon wheels, and even black spots on a white cow. But there are more esoteric shapes, as well. Hen’s eggs are oval, and so are winter squash on the vine. Kites are diamonds in the sky, and with a pumpkin on board, Dad can carve a triangle for a nose, and some stars for its eyes. And at last those round pumpkins for round pumpkin pies are on their way home with the kids in Felicia Sanzari Chernesky’s Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes (Albert Whitman, 2013), with verses with verve and a bright autumnal palette from Susan Swan’s jolly farm collages to provide the lessons in shapes and appreciation for autumn produce as well. A goodpick for prep for the fall farm trip or a field trip to the pumpkin patch for primary classes and an introduction to the traditional foods of Thanksgiving as well.—BooksforKids Blog

Everything about this book is appealing – from the brilliant autumn scene on the cover to the festively written rhyme of the text.  Who can resist joining the hayride to the pumpkin patch on a crisp afternoon?  You’ll be delighted with even more surprises as you read and enjoy this harvest adventure.

Pick a CIRCLE! Here’s the sun.
Apples, pumpkins – such ROUND fun!

Pick a SQUARE! This bale of hay:
a CUBE of straw’s my seat today.

Each page is a vibrant farm scene in which you can search among gourds, scarecrows, pumpkins, and fields for shapes of all kinds.   Not all the stars you find will be in the sky!   You may want to make a mug of cider and enjoy this several times.—Mary Byrne Kline, Chasing Fireflies

Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a great book to share with the children this Autumn. It captures the atmosphere and activity at a pumpkin patch. As the family takes a hayride through the pumpkin patch they point out many different shapes using imagery words that describe the season.

It is a colorful, rhyming story and a terrific way to teach children about shapes. The story invites children to pick out shapes from the seasonal scenery. From wagon wheel circles, to square hay bales, and diamond kites in the sky. Explore the vibrant farm scenes and search for rectangles, ovals, stars, and more among the autumn colors.

Go to the library to borrow this book or simply buy your own copy below. All young children enjoy this fun book.— “Weekly Trip to the Library,” How to Be the Best Nanny

Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky. This one is beautiful. It follows a family on an outing to an apple orchard, as they pick circles (apples), gather ovals (squash and corn), and eat triangles (wedges of pie). Rating: 5 out of 5.— “15 Autumn & Halloween Books Your Kids Will Love,” Quirky Bookworm

A family’s trip to the pumpkin patch becomes a delightful search for shapes.  The rhyme and rhythm make this a natural read aloud.  The illustrations are a standout with tons of colors, shapes, and patterns. Pre-K, EL(K-3)–ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS, Kiss the Book

Brightly colored collage illustrations complement a rhymed text about a family’s trip to the pumpkin patch. Throughout the lovely autumn scenery, they notice all sorts of shapes–square hay bales, diamond kites, round baskets, triangular pie slices, scarecrows dressed in polka dots and plaid, and much more.—“Autumn Season,” Log Cabin Librarian

This is sister’s favorite pick of the bunch. We thoroughly enjoyed looking for the hidden shapes in the illustrations. They did a wonderful job with the way it was written and the illustrations were fun.—Tanya, “Some of Our Favorite Fall Books,” The Natural Homeschool