Circle, Triangle, Elephant!: A Book of Shapes & SurprisesKenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi

A clever and refreshing approach to learning about shapes, with a bit of silliness mixed in

This unexpected take on shapes offers a breath of fresh air within this well-established toddler concept genre. With bright block-art visuals and a rhythmic, read-aloud text, this book begins by offering familiar shapes - a triangle, a circle, and a square - and then throws an elephant into the equation: triangle, elephant, circle. Surely an elephant doesn't belong in a book on shapes... or does it? The joy of the unexpected, including guest appearances by boats, lemons, and other random but recognizable silhouettes, in a shape-driven narrative will prompt giggles and squeals, as children build skills of labelling and classifying.


  • Format: Board Book
  • Size: 229 × 166 mm (9 × 6 1/2 in)
  • Pages: 22 pp
  • Illustrations: 0 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714874111

Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi, are an award-winning husband-and-wife illustration team based in Tokyo. They have published over thirty children's books and are also known for their commercial work in advertising and merchandising. This is their first book to be published in English.

"A breath of fresh air within the well-established toddler concept genre."—PrimaryTimes.Net

"What a lovely shape book. Baby books can be so bland, but these shapes interspersed with animals and objects really livens things up. The illustrations are lovely and as well as providing shape learning opportunities, there's lots of playful fun to be had with the unexpected items popping up in between. A fantastic bonding book to read with babies from birth upwards and there's lots of giggling and nonsense to be had with older children up to around three years."—

"Glorious simplicity... A board book brimming with ideas for toddlers to get their teeth into... There aren't many actual words on the page because it is you, dear reader, who will do the talking."—Families South East Magazine

"An amusing and innovative way to introduce shapes to a young child... The sturdy pages of this board book are ideal for repeated use. This Japanese illustration team have created something a little bit different from the more conventional shape books with surprise elements and some daft concepts that are sure to engage and captivate young readers."—

"Does an elephant belong in a book about shapes? Of course."—Gurgle

"There's lots of fun and silliness packed into this rhythmic read-aloud book... Circle, Triangle, Elephant! A Book of Shapes & Surprises by husband and wife duo Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi offers a new approach to learning about shapes. Beginning with familiar forms, the bright visuals are interrupted with unexpected but recognisable silhouettes."—Baby London

"It's difficult to explain quite how funny this clever and deceptively simple board book is... It starts out looking like a fairly standard (if, admittedly, exceptionally stylish) exploration of shapes... However, on page three, things suddenly start to get rather more interesting, when the silhouette of an elephant gets randomly thrown into the mix. After this, anything is possible. The use of emphasis is skillful, and reading it aloud without laughing is nigh-on impossible... This is definitely a title that will reward an investment for many years to come."—Teach Early Years

"Surprisingly good fun."—Kirkus Reviews

"Circle, Triangle, Elephant! A Book of Shapes & Surprises by husband and wife duo Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi offers a new approach to learning about shapes. Beginning with familiar forms, the bright visuals are interrupted with unexpected but recognizable silhouettes." —Baby Magazine

"A creative and engaging book... Ideal for introducing shape recognition to babies whilst slightly older readers will enjoy and appreciate the touches of humour. After all, why shouldn't an elephant stand on a boat or a bus balance on a lemon?"—Armadillo Magazine online

"A read aloud board book! Could such things be? Well, let me tell you something about board books that surprise expectations. If you want to be the Ruler of Storytime, all you have to do is get the kids to laugh. This book can do that. After all, even young children can catch on to the fact that an elephant is not a shape."—Betsy Bird, School Library Journal, "2017 Board Books Worth Noting"

"Enchanting... Mixes striking designs, vibrant colours and a dash of surprise to entertain and inform the youngest readers."—Illustration

"Circle, Triangle, Elephant! has a very simple premise, but with its utterly charming and beguiling illustrations, its perfect pacing, and its expertly placed surprises, is an uproarious read that easily puts children into hysterics."—Tiffa Foster, Picture Book Review

"Funny. Kooky. Odd." —Fuse8 blog

"Honestly, have we run the gamut of categories this book can appear in? Oh. Wait. No. Translated picture books. There's still time for this silly title to garner more honors." —Fuse8 blog