Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles by Steve Antony

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Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles by Steve Antony

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: The Green Lizards and the Red Rectangles don't like each other to the extent that they are at war. This well illustrated children's book tries to tackle this weighty issue, but is perhaps a little too lightweight for the subject matter.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 32 Date: November 2015
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781444920109

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Young children have inquisitive minds and they do not view the world in the same way we do. Trying to explain abstract concepts to them is almost impossible as they like to know exactly why something does what it does. Why is the Sky blue? Where do babies come from? Why do people fight wars? Many a parent has tried and failed to tackle these troublesome questions, so perhaps a book can help? Or perhaps, you are best off leaving the answer alone for a few years so that they are more mature?

Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles is essentially a book about war designed for the pre-schooler. For some unknown reason the Green Lizards and the Red Rectangles are at loggerheads with one another. Witness them do battle over several pages and even see one or two brave souls try to understand why they are fighting. Does anyone win in a fight? This is the type of tricky question that goes over the head of many an adult, never mind a three year old.

As a piece of art, Green vs Red is wonderful looking. Creator Steve Antony has kept the wording very minimal and instead filled the pages with dynamic illustrations of the lizards and rectangles doing battle. The idea of an animal group and a shape group waging war is an odd concept, but in terms of visual splendour, it looks excellent. The drawings are truly eye catching, with the pages full of red and green, but look closer and you can see all the detail. The best pictures have seemingly legion of lizards all wrapped around one another.

The illustrations are clear and have some sort of coherence to them, but this is where it ends. By using such sparse wording and bold imagery the book feels like it should be aimed at the younger toddler market – two or three year olds, but the concept of war is just too big for them at that age. Even if it was not, Anthony does not tackle it in a way that will make them understand any better. In fact, one scene sees a small lizard asking for a truce, only for them to be crushed by a rectangle. This is a little harrowing for a young toddler. If a child was four to six they start to understand the nature of the act, but they would find the rest of the book too simple.

Indeed, it appears that Anthony has created a book that will raise more questions than answers. The onus is back on the adult sharing the reading to explain why the war is happening, but there is no easy way to explain this with the dearth of information the text provides. It is up to your imagination to work full time to come up with a palatable answer for your child. The book does end nicely, but never really satisfies after all the questions it stirs up.

Parents of an inquisitive child you like to tackle complex ideas will find a useful tool in Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles and the imagery is incredible in places. However, if you are anything like me you are not burying your head in the sand about the concept of war, just resting it there for a few years until your child has developed the maturity to deal with the idea that people kill one another sometimes, for seemingly little reason.

The idea of war is perhaps best left for the confident reader; try them on Archie's War by Marcia Williams or dealt with more compassionately; A Child's Garden: A Story Of Hope by Michael Foreman.

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Buy Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles by Steve Antony at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles by Steve Antony at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles by Steve Antony at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles by Steve Antony at


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