Now 2023 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

The Alcatraz Escape by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Better Off Read by Nora Page
Braced by Alyson Gerber
The Chosen Ones by Scarlett Thomas
Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya
Fleep by Jason Shiga
The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber
I'll Save You Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal
A Just Clause by Lorna Barrett
Karma Khullar's Mustache by Kristi Wientge
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz
Malaika’s Winter Carnival by Nadia L. Hohn and Irene Luxbacher (illustrator)
Merman in My Tub, Volume 2 by Itokichi
The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time by Steven Sherrill
Murder Past Due by Miranda James
Nurse, Soldier, Spy by Marissa Moss and John Hendrix
The Outlaw Varjak Paw by S.F. Said
Ragtag by Karl Wolf-Morgenländer
The Road is Yours Reginald M. Cleveland
Rooster Joe and the Bully by Xavier Garza
Runaways, Volume 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell
Ship It by Britta Lundin
Square by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Time Ghost by Welwyn Wilton Katz
Wandering Son: Volume 3 by Takako Shimura
White Night by Jim Butcher
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum: rereading for the American road narrative

Canadian Book Challenge: 2018-2019
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 04)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 11)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 18)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 25)
May 2018 Sources
May 2018 Summary
On counting books: stop policing other people's reading
Thirty-one years of tracking my reading

Road Essays
Ignoring the eight percent
There are 216 road narrative stories (that I'm interested in)
Traveling between utopia and uhoria: an introduction to the use of space and time in Oz and Night Vale
Who is Dorothy?

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Beat the Backlist 2023

Chicken Art

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Square: 06/26/18


Square by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen* is the follow up to last year's Triangle. Square spends his days finding square shaped rocks in his cave home and taking them outside where he stacks them. All that changes when Circle visits, decides his stacks of squares are art and commissions a portrait of herself.

On the one hand, Square is a very straightforward explanation of imposter syndrome. Square doesn't see himself as an artist. He's certainly not described that way before the visit by Circle. What his motivation is for removing the square shaped rocks from his cave aren't stated. For all I know, Square doesn't even know why he does it.

With Circle's commission along with the statement that he is both a genius and artist, Square does his best to meet Circle's demands. He wants to create a circular rock out of one of his square rocks. Anyone who has tried to do that freehand with scissors and paper knows how tricky making a perfect circle is.

Out of Square's failures — the bits and pieces of corners strewn around where he sat outside a circular pool of water collects, which Circle declares is the perfect and genius portrait she had hoped for.

But here's the thing that irks me: it's the gendering. Most often Klassen's characters are male. Even when dealing with things that aren't people or animals, they are gendered as male. Part of that is the quirk of the English language, that things default to male most of the time.

But I knew before I even read any of Circle's pages that she would be a she. Of course she would because she's curvy. Or whatever. Sure enough, out of nowhere comes an inexplicably female geometric shape.

Why? Can't there be male circles? Or would male circles be too effeminate? Would a male circle be read as gay? Or transgender? And would that reading — if it wasn't played for stereotypes – be bad thing?

* Counting book as number 52 for the 11th annual Canadian Challenge as the illustrator is Canadian.

Four stars

Comments (2)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Comment #1: Wednesday, June, 27, 2018 at 21:34:53


Interesting commentary — when you mention it, it seems so obvious — all the unnecessary gendering in children's books which is so prevalent. I think the circle=female is also something that would really bother me about this one too.

Comment #2: Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 16:14:00


It was just such a weird unnecessary and yet completely predictable detail.

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2023 Sarah Sammis