Better Together by Sh. & S. Shapiro
Shapiro, Sheryl, and Simon Shapiro. Better Together. Illus. Dušan Petričić. Toronto: Annick Press, 2011. Print.
This concept book is infused with a cheerful, slightly mischievous spirit as the authors and illustrator explore a wide variety of, and a broad notion of, mixes. Kids might be familiar with many of the mixes—mixing cinnamon and sugar to spread on toast, mixing water and dirt to create mud, mixing blue and yellow to make green or mixing water and flour to create glue. Other mixes are more abstract—mixing up each team member’s different skills to make a great soccer team or mixing up musical instruments to make raucous music. Each mix is explained by a playful, rhyming poem that is easy-to-read and delightful to read aloud. The writers themselves decided to mix things up—the book is this husband-and-wife’s first collaborative effort and their obvious pleasure in wordplay is apparent. For example, the first poem, which explains what mixes are, contains the line “You stir and squoosh them, squish and moosh them” to create a brand new thing. The lively text is supported by the equally zippy illustrations. The first illustration is a highlight as Petričić shows how mixing the separate ingredients of ideas, paper, and drawings can produce a wonderful new thing: a picture book. The mix of vivid illustrations and energetic text has created a fun book that both kids and parents will enjoy. The book is recommended for children ages 4-7.
Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Tami Oliphant
Tami works as a research librarian at the University of Alberta Libraries and for the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. She earned her Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta and her doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. She has worked in academic libraries, public libraries, communications and planning, and as a sessional lecturer and researcher at the University of Alberta and the University of Western Ontario.