#915 – City Shapes by Diana Murray and Bryan Collier

city shapescoveruse City Shapes
Written by Diana Murray
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Little and Brown Co. 6/01/2016
40 pages    Ages 4—8

A pigeon takes flight through
the bright cityscape,
exploring the scenery . . .

“A truck rumbling by
to deliver the mail . . .

“A skyscraper covered in
shimmering glass . . .

“Colorful flags at the
busy market . . .

“Twinkling lights . . .

“And fluttering kites
dancing in the sky!

“The city is bursting with
SHAPES of each kind.
If you just look closely,
who knows what you’ll find!”
[inside jacket]

A young, bright-eyed girl takes a tour of New York City, looking through a kaleidoscope, finding shapes in all sorts of things around the city. Boat sails in the port, fish tails in the market, and flags dangling down at an angle are all triangular shapes. All over the city, the young girl notices the shapes, which make up buildings, people, objects, and every sight and sound. Drummers, the sunset, and people in a crowded venue are ovals. Finally, night descends upon the city, the girl is ready to go home, and stars are ready to take over the night sky.

Murray_CityShapes_INT-12largeCity Shapes is a different kind of story. The city looks much different than one expects a bustling city to appear. Shapes begin to pop out. Rhyming text gives us the items seen and then the shape they represent. The illustrations give us the item, though not always as one would expect.

“A skyscraper covered in shimmering glass,
a long metal bench near a green patch of grass,
and a table with glittery scarves and gold bangles . . .

in the city are . . .

The table is the rectangle object, yet the main image is the girl holding one of the “glittery scarves” folded as a triangle. This sticks out only because the image, which is beautiful, takes up nearly the entire page. Being a concept book kids may not notice this discrepancy. The young girl and the illustrations as a whole are so gorgeous; it is easy to forgive the error.

City Shapes is an interesting and brilliant method of getting kids—and myself—to look at the world from a new vantage point. In a way, nothing is unusual or vastly different. The world, seen in shapes—and we are all shapes—demonstrates how much alike we are more than how different, meaning we are all the same in the most basic of ways. This is also a great way to help kids learn to draw. Seeing shapes instead of what may be a complex object, makes drawing the object easier and less stressful.

Murray_CityShapes_INT-13largeCity Shapes is an exercise in seeing the world around us. Shapes can make the world around you similar and different in ways that my surprise you. The watercolor and collage illustrations are bright and cheerful, as is the young African-American girl seeing the shapes around her. The world of New York City is multicultural, yet this is not what one first notices. What you notice are the similarities.

For an interesting tour of life in general, for a new way of seeing and thinking, for teaching young kids shapes and older kids how to take complex objects down to their basic forms, City Shapes is an excellent and brilliant picture book.

City Shapes is Diana Murray’s debut picture book. She has eight more on the way.

CITY SHAPES. Text copyright © 2016 by Diana Murray. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Bryan Collier. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little and Brown Co., New York, NY.

AmazonIndie BooksApple BooksHachette

Find City Shapes on Goodreads HERE.
Junior Library Guild Selection

Diana Murray:  http://www.dianamurray.com/
Follow on Twitter          @DianaMWrites

Bryan Collier:  http://www.bryancollier.com/
Follow on Twitter

Little and Brown Co.:  http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/publishers/little-brown-and-company/
Follow on Twitter          @HachetteKids          @littlebrown

Little and Brown Co. is an imprint of Hachette Book Group.

Reprinted with permission from CITY SHAPES © 2016 by Diana Murray, Little and Brown Co., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Illustrations © 2016 by Bryan Collier.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

City Shapes
Written by Diana Murray
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Little and Brown Co. 6/01/2016

13 thoughts on “#915 – City Shapes by Diana Murray and Bryan Collier

  1. Pingback: #1158 – DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS by Diana Murray and Yuyi Chen | Kid Lit Reviews

  2. Pingback: #1090 – Groggle’s Monster Valentine by Diana Murray and Bats Langley | Kid Lit Reviews

  3. I like the concept of this book, to encourage kids to view the world around them in shapes. It’s also a great way to teach them how to draw. The illustrations are stellar, too. Nice review, Sue.


    • This is how I was taught to draw when I had to take a “how to draw” class in college. (Stupid liberal arts colleges.) Actually, I loved the class and have appreciated learning to see things in shapes. Loved that this books does just that.


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