One More Try

One More Try
Naomi Jones and James Jones
Oxford Children’s Books

Mightily impressed with the tall tower the squares and hexagons are building during a play session, that Circle invites triangle and diamond friends to co-construct a tower of their own. They soon discover that easy as edifice erecting might appear, it’s nothing of the sort; indeed it’s fraught with problems of the balancing kind.

However circle, diamond and triangle aren’t giving up that easily; they decide to undertake a training regime to build up their strength. Now although this additional strength helps a bit, a tumbling tower soon results. Perseverance is the name of the game where Circle is concerned, so can a bit of studying improve things? It does, but the tower still wobbles much more than that of the squares and hexagons.

Down but definitely not out, Circle takes time out to give himself a new angle on the challenge.

While so doing, he receives a message from above and although it takes a bit of re-enthusing all the others, they agree to give it one final try working with Circle’s plan. Will success be the reward for refusing to abandon their aim?

In a manner similar to The Perfect Fit, the Jones partnership cleverly combine themes of problem-solving, determination, imagination and mental toughness with mathematical concepts relating to shape. Naomi’s amusing narrative with its plethora of speech bubbles, mainly of the uplifting kind, together with James’s shape characters that while appearing two-dimensional on the page, prove themselves to be anything but, work in perfect harmony: it can’t be easy to give simple shapes personalities but this illustrator has certainly found a way.

The Perfect Fit

The Perfect Fit
Naomi Jones and James Jones
Oxford Children’s Books

This is a story about what happens when a triangle that feels different among the circles decides to embark on a journey to find a community wherein she feels she belongs.

The squares are welcoming and invite the newcomer to play with them. With high hopes she joins in their building but then despite encouraging comments from her fellow builders, Triangle feels she must move on …

The hexagons are similarly accommodating though still Triangle worries about being different and continues her search. Increasingly despondent she begins to feel that perhaps she’s the only triangle there is, but then a star speaks and hope returns. On goes the search till finally there before her …

However there are limits to the games that triangles can play – no rolling for instance. Triangle remembers the fun she had with all those other shapes and …

A smashing celebration of difference and diversity showing that to fit in, doesn’t mean you have to be like everyone else: a variety of experience leads to a richer community. Life is much more enjoyable when people welcome those who are different, enabling everyone to feel comfortable about themselves. The key is to go beyond the confines of your perceived identity.

This seemingly simple story inspired by author Naomi and illustrator James son’s struggle to fit in when he started nursery, is a perfect foundation stage book for fostering personal, social and emotional development. It’s also rich in mathematical potential.