The blog in which I write “perfect” a lot!
I think everyone understands that feeling of not fitting in, we’ve all felt it, it’s just maybe some of us are better at hiding those insecurities. I love picture book ideas that are inspired by real experiences, and The Perfect Fit written by Naomi Jones, illustrated by Naomi’s husband James Jones, and published by Oxford University Press was inspired by the struggles their son had settling into nursery. It couldn’t be more perfect could it?
Triangle is worried, she can’t roll wonderfully like the circles, or stack beautifully like the squares and she feels like she’s ruining their fun games with her pointy bits! So she sets out to find some friends just like her. Along the way she meets other wonderful shapes, before finally finding her people, the triangles. She fits perfectly of course, but quickly realises that everyone being the same is actually quite boring, and she misses being different. So she works to bring all the shapes together for the ultimate in fun and friendship.
What is not to love about this picture book? The fact that it is a story of friendship and uniqueness, of fitting in? That it’s beautifully written by Naomi with a mixture of storytelling, questions and dialogue allowing children to really think through what is happening in the book? Or James’s simple yet characterful and immensly clever illustrations? Well yes, it’s all of this … and more!
There is a real warmth and charm from this story, much of which comes from Naomi’s lovely writing. We read the Triangle’s thought process as she meets the new shapes and tries to find her place on her journey. This is really important in helping children empathise and understand and also identify the feelings they themselves have. There’s no negativity in the book, despite poor Triangle’s worries of spoiling their fun, the other shapes at no time reinforce this with mean words or actions. In fact they have a brilliant time playing with her. It’s a clear indication of how she might be letting her worries to take over and misinterpret a situation. How not to project your worries and thoughts onto others is a very tricky level of emotional intelligence to teach children, but this introduces it wonderfully well!
The Perfect Fit is a really neat picture book combining educational and emotional value in one clean sweep! The theme of the story is played out through the use of shapes as characters, which is ingenious as it’s something children clearly understand and recognise and demonstrates differences and similarities with alarming perfection! It gives the book an ideal home in schools, where it can be used in so many creative ways on the shape theme, it could be brilliantly played out with actual shapes for instance, linking storytelling with mathematics! For very young children, James’s bright, bold and clear illustrations are an ideal introduction to shape, colour and tessellation.
And a book that offers so many educational opportunities within a lovely fictional story, is a really valuable thing. but the truth is, even without all of that, The Perfect Fit is so important. It’s a book for all those slightly nervous children questioning themselves, doubting their uniqueness, it’s actually a celebration of individuality.
This is a perfect picture book about how not to fit in perfectly!
The Perfect Fit is out now and available from all good libraries and bookshops. You can support indie shops and my blog buy purchasing a copy through my bookshop.org affiliate link. Thank you!
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on this blog tour!
Thank you to OUP for sending me a copy of The Perfect Fit for my honest thoughts, and thank you for reading this perfectly imperfect Book Monster review.