Tag Archives: Mac Barnett

Triangle by Mac Barnett

There’s something special about a book cover that has no text on it. It may well be the eyes.  Martin’s Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier, stands out as the larger-than-life portrait of Dr. King emits radiant life through his smile and eyes. Similarly, Jerry Pinkney’s Lion and Mouse depicts a lion’s strength – and ultimate downfall – through reproachful yet alert eyes.

It stands to reason, then, that there would never be any text on the cover of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s latest collaboration, Triangle.  Because Klassen is, if anything, the master of the picture book eye. With a (not-so) simple dot, he lets readers know how characters feel and think. Paired with Barnett’s always-unique storyline, this hotly-anticipated book didn’t disappoint.

Triangle by Mac Barnett, pictures by Jon Klassen

Triangle lives in the land of triangles: triangle-shaped house, door, even art. Wide eyed, he gives an innocent vibe.  But don’t be fooled: he is a sneaky fellow and, one day, sets off to play a delightful trick on his friend Square.  Square, seeking revenge, chases Triangle back to his house.  Readers will delight in predicting Square’s predicament of not fitting through Triangle’s door and inferring whether Square’s intentions were to play a similar sneaky trick on Triangle.  Square’s legs and – yes – eyes give it away: he is a square, after all.  The first in a planned trilogy (lucky us!), Barnett continues to create inventive, unique storylines and, paired with Klassen, he’s at his best.  Highly recommended.  Share with ages 3+.

The case design stands out, too: a board over paper cover, with rounded corners and heavier-than-average stock pages sewn into the binding. With no dust jacket, there is no chance to a peek underneath for any additional insight into the mind or actions of either character. A well-played choice.

Let’s circle back (pun intended) to Martin’s Big Words and Lion and Mouse.  The two covers shown earlier were upon initial publication. Today, however, they look like this:

People – librarians, booksellers, teachers, students – saw something in those eyes.  They stood out.  Were memorable.  Impactful.  One can only speculate if Triangle will join their esteemed ranks.

One thing is for sure: kids won’t be able to take their eyes off this one!

Triangle was published March 14, 2017 in both the US and the UK

One of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Candlewick/WalkerUK booth.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika

Library Lessons: Sep 29-Oct 3, 2014

Week 5


New author study with Arthur Howard.  Working in the E/everybody “neighborhood” and finding author last names on “street” shelves.  Week 2 of Rhyme Time!

2nd grade:

Final week of Mac Barnett love!  Two different lessons (as some kids didn’t see his presentation).  Flipgrid videos are up and password secure!


4th grade:

TRAILS survey, a 15 question assessment, which all 4th graders in my district do in the first part of the year.  Good news: a vast majority know how to take notes and paraphrase.  Bad news: about half cannot find a book on the shelf given the author’s name.  Yet another reason to go Dewey-free?

AND…new displays!  To aid students in finding the books they want most: the Sasquatch nominees and Halloween/scary books.  I love using a READBOX all year long for seasonal books.  The window to the main hall is an added display bonus, too!


Author visit with Mac Barnett!

Fact: I do not like email.

Fact: I never check my school account on days that I don’t work, including summer vacation.

Fact: The saying – never say never – exists for a reason.  Because for the first time in, well, EVER, I checked my school email over summer vacation.  And back in the beginning of August, I found a sparkling gem of an email from my local bookstore, University Bookstore, asking me if I wanted to host author Mac Barnett at my school…and if so, to email back ASAP.  First two to reply earn a visit.

Were they kidding?  YES!  Yes I wanted to host Mac Barnett – very, very much.  If you don’t recall, he was part of my fangirl experience at ALA 2014 in Vegas.  I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE his stories.  And I knew my students and teachers would love-love-love him just as much as I did.

I promptly emailed back – again, first email sent during summer – and luckily secured a visit.  Yippee!  There was one hurdle – he’d be visiting on our 10th day of school – so any lessons/units I would usually pre-teach were out the window.  But that was minor.  MAC BARNETT.  IN OUR LIBRARY.  We’d make it work!


And work it did.  Today Mac visited my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders.  He entertained them with his humor, charmed them with his stories, and challenged them to think with his bookcentric, interactive presentation.


We were honored to hear him share four of his books.  Count the Monkeys was an interactive, page-turning delight.  Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (out Oct 2014) gave the students a chance to think creatively about the book’s unexpected ending.  Mac’s newest, Telephone, began with a rousing rendition of Happy Book Birthday to You, as it just published six days ago.  And his upcoming Leo and the Ghost (no pub date given, and I forget the exact title…eek!) was shared after a student asked about the process of illustration within his books, as the dummy was illustrated on post-it notes.  I loved the rough illustrations on sticky notes almost as much as I loved his story – which I predict to be a very, very big hit.

Everyone walked out from the morning spent with Mac smiling, happy, and ready to read even more of his books.  And since he shared that he has at least 10 in the process of being published, I predict many students will be eagerly buying – and reading – them.


So thanks again, Mac, for an amazing morning.  Your enthusiasm for writing and genuine passion for students was apparent.  And thanks, U Bookstore, for that summer email.  I don’t know what possessed me to check it that hot August day, but I sure am glad that I did.

DSC_0027 (2)Looking for more about the books Mac shared?  Check out these book trailers!