Museum Shapes by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are probably hundreds of children’s books out there on shapes — almost all featuring photographs of simple objects, or straightforward illustrations. While infants and very young toddlers who are just starting to recognise basic geometric shapes will appreciate these books, they will also tire of them very quickly.

Enter, stage left, Museum Shapes by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is the perfect book for toddlers who have already mastered the basic shapes. Like My First ABC, the most unique selling point of Museum Shapes is that every painting that appears in the book is a bona fide piece of art hanging in the museum, including works by renowned names such as Picasso and van Gogh — a great way to subtly introduce children to fine art.

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The paintings are also neatly grouped such that each spread is focused on just one shape, and the reader is gently guided to identify the shape in question. In addition, only the relevant part of each artwork is shown, so that even if the paintings are inherently complex, it is possible — though challenging, but in a good way — for toddlers to spot the shapes that are hidden in plain sight. Besides the usual circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, diamonds, hearts and ovals, less common shapes like crescents and arches are also covered in the book. Thanks to the nature of the paintings, even older toddlers and grown-ups will enjoy looking at the book and learn to see shapes in a new light.

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Geometric shapes are all around us, but it takes a trained eye to see them clearly. This book is a fantastic place to start.

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