Green Lizards vs. Red Rectangles

illus. by Steve Antony. 32p. Scholastic. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545849029.
K-Gr 2—The outrageous notion of Green Lizards battling Red Rectangles is the hilariously far-fetched subject of this unusual story about what happens when two very different groups, one animate and the other inanimate, wage war against each other. Each side has special talents in their favor: the Red Rectangles are smart, and the Green Lizards are strong. When a single Lizard is brave enough to ask the obvious question "WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?" he is mercilessly squashed by a particularly long rectangle. This leads to the biggest war ever, until everyone learns to coexist peacefully. Vibrant greens and reds, the single two colors in the book, haphazardly explode off pages that are bare white. The small, oddly shaped Lizards look like the kind of sketches that a grade school student might doodle onto the margins of his notebook. The Lizard on the cover of the book, defiantly glaring at his red opponent with raised fists, is the best of the bunch. The overall moral of the story is as simply told as the illustrations and should leave an impression on young readers: there is never a good reason for fighting over differences, and living peacefully together is always the best approach. Overall, this is a unique way of presenting the topic of harmony and cooperation in elementary classrooms. Antony's clever book begs for a sequel; perhaps "Pink Dinosaurs vs. Blue Circles"? Why not ask children to name two other potential opponents?
VERDICT A unique picture book with a thought-provoking message that will undoubtedly appeal to a storytime crowd.

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