Taeeun Yoo Illustration Essay

By just glancing at the cover of ROUND by Joyce Sidman, the reader is in for a treat. This picture book is particularly wonderful for small children who may be learning their shapes! In particular, ROUND things. Joyce Sidman is an expert at writing about the natural world in a lyrical way. In addition to the plethora of picture books she has written, her book, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, was awarded a Newbery Honor Medal in 2011.

This whole book will help children look at the world around them and start thinking about the different shapes in nature. As the reader discovers by following a little girl in green, polka-dotted overalls, there are quite a lot of round things to be found in nature. She notices the roundness of an egg, the swirls on a turtle’s back, the spots on a mushroom, the shape of sunflowers, that are round. One of the most beautiful lines is when the child’s father carries her on his shoulders, and the little girl points at the moon, hanging yellow in the blue sky. The lines read:

“Or show themselves,

night after night,

rounder and rounder,

until the whole sky holds its breath.”

But roundness is not limited to physical objects in the natural world. The little girl discovers that a circle of friends is round, and a hug can be round, too.

Taeeun Yoo’s illustrations go perfectly with Sidman’s words. The bright colors and simple shapes that she chooses to illustrate make this book perfect for a young child.

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