Carter Higgins delivers another superb concept book in Some of These Are Snails, a natural companion to her elegant 2021 creation, Circle Under Berry. Higgins invites readers to linger over these pages as they classify, sort and organize simple shapes in bright colors.
The book opens with a double-page spread dominated by two circles: one green, one yellow, with simple embellishments that transform the green into a turtle, the yellow into a snail. “Turtle is a circle,” we read, then, “circle is a snail.” The next spread features six green and orange circles on the verso, while the recto repeats the images of the turtle and the snail, then introduces a yellow square. “Circle circle square” rests below these three shapes. In the spread that follows, the yellow square becomes an elephant; next to it, a square, now blue, is an owl.
As we continue to turn the pages, Higgins’ text encourages readers to sort by color and shape, and to ascertain how these classifications overlap. We see nine variously colored circles arranged in a three-by-three square; a square whale; triangle birds and mice; a series of circles grouped by both size and color; and more. Occasionally, Higgins addresses readers directly: “can you sort by color? can you sort by size?” then, striking a playful note, “can you sort by shape or find the animal with eyes?” Perhaps the most sophisticated puzzle of all features six animal shapes and asks, “what is one? what is some? where is all and where is none?”
Though the text includes sparse punctuation and no capitalization, it’s satisfyingly rhythmic and filled with pleasing rhymes, both true and slant. It absolutely begs to be shared aloud. Meanwhile, Higgins renders the shapes and the creatures built from those shapes with vibrant collage illustrations. The figures rest on copious white space and evoke the palette and textures of the work of Eric Carle. It all makes for an utterly delightful, visually rich package that will have readers engaging in the types of classification work that form the basis of math skills and enhance memory and problem-solving abilities, too. Best of all, they’ll learn to see the world and its patterns in eye-opening ways. Some of These Are Snails is a must-have for every young reader’s bookshelf.