Sunday, June 5, 2011

Picture Book Review: One by Kathryn Otoshi

Browsing the library books, I plucked this one off the shelf simply because the cover caught my eye. I briefly flipped a couple of pages and thought that the simple illustrations were quite beautiful and decided to bring it home. I knew nothing about the book. I didn't even know what it was about when I began to read it to Michael.

The characters are small watercolor splotches. The main character is Blue. The book begins simply by introducing him. We learn what he likes to do. We gain insights into his personality. We learn about his wishes and insecurities. We meet his friends: Yellow, Green, Purple, and Orange. Then we meet Red. As it turns out, Red is a bit of a hot head. He likes to tease and he particularly likes to pick on Blue.

After setting up the situation, Otoshi does a delicate, creative job of helping the colors stand up for their friend. You just need to find a copy and read it. It is a beautiful and unique book with a great anti-bullying message conveyed in a subtle and compelling way. Young kids will just enjoy the colors and numbers. Older kids will enjoy discussing the story as well.

I would never have gone out looking for an anti-bullying book to read with Michael. In fact, if I had read the book before reading it with him I might have hesitated due to the content (just because he is so young, not because it is objectionable). He found it compelling though. He was very interested in the different characters and talking about what was going on. Upon finishing he instantly asked to hear it again. In the morning he wanted to bring the book downstairs with him and he showed it to everyone who walked by (Ava, Daddy, Ava's therapist...).

The author's website has an excerpt of One that takes you through the first nine pages or so. It gives you a feel for the artwork and the beginning of the story. I highly recommend you check this out.

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