Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Title: One
Author and Illustrator: Kathryn Otoshi
Publisher: KO Kids Books
Age Group: 2+

Cross posted at utbtkids.com

When I pick a book from the library, I pick up the book for its social/ethical values or for its pictures or for the educational values. Books like Flotsam inspires me to think out of the box. Books like The Relatives Came talks about the same issues we go through at home from time to time. In a nutshell, when I thumb through a book, I inadvertently shelve it in to a category in my mind. It forms the angle I adapt when I read the book at home with my children. Once in a while a book like One comes along and it just blows my mind.

Well, it talks about numbers and colors. So is it a toddler book to introduce colors and numbers? No. One is definitely more than that.

It has simple sentences and is easy to read. When they talk about the color red the author writes Red, making it easy for a preschooler to connect color to the name of the color in print. So is it an easy reader book? May be and some more.

When the author says, “Red got bigger and bigger and bigger”, she illustrates it with three red dots in increasing sizes. Is it a book that helps children comprehend comparison? This is got to be a early math skills book. Yes, definitely…..and much more.

It talks about feelings. So is it a book on values. Yes, that too.

One is the story of seven colors. Blue, Yellow, Purple, Orange, Red, Green and the number One. Blue is an average Joe. He has his days, taking pleasure in simple things, at times feeling insecure hoping that he could be like some one else. He is weird with in acceptable limits. Then comes Red. He senses Blue’s insecurity and teases him. No one stops Red. Blue feels blue. Red’s ego bloats. Now comes One as in number one. So far the colors are illustrated as a blob of watercolor. One is gray, he has sharp corners and angles and nothing like the other colors have every seen. One is unique not only in appearance but also in his nature. He stands up to Red and refuses to be bullied. He looks at other colors and says, “If someone is mean and picks on me, I for One stand up and Say No.” Other colors join One in his stand against Red, even the meek Blue. Now Red turns even redder from the embarrassment and rolls away. Blue and One call out to Red saying that Red can be a part of the group if he is ready to respect the rest of the group. “Red can be hot AND Blue can be cool” they say, because they want “Every body to count.” Red laughs and joins the fun.

The illustrations capture one’s eye. Simple enough to smack our head and think, “Dang, I could do it”.

I fell head over heels in love with this book. I bought two copies of this book and donated one to my children's classroom. This book is so far the number One in my list of recommendations. I have even read it to couple of adults who visited us. I am just smitten with this book.


Choxbox said...

Sounds brilliant utbt!

You know what to get for me when you visit des next ;)

utbtkids said...

Consider it done.

I have my own personal agenda. I was going to ask you a list of CBT, Pratham and Tulika books that are distinctly Indian - subject importance given to Indian birds, animals, fruits, forests, art(warli, Tanjore painting, madhubani, batik)

B o o said...

Its the number one childrens book in my list! Just awesome. Brilliant. I read it to the husband the other day and Im quoting the book all the time to Ashu! I reccommended this to Ashus school library since I did nt see it in the catalogue.

Praba Ram said...

Interesting pick, UTBT! My 3 yr old would definitely enjoy seeing colors and numbers as characters. As for the message part, yes - I am thinking also for older children, will work great!!

Have a doubt though - the color related undertones - as in red is hot, blue is cool - can be a bit abstract for preschoolers? May be for older kids?

utbtkids said...

Praba, the color feeling relationship is mostly for older children.

utbtkids said...

Boo, the book was released in 2008 and some one did story telling with felt board based on this book. Since then, I was waiting for our library to order and bring this book in circulation. It took them a good 2 months and I was all pins and needles waiting for it :)

SoulSpace said...

Interesting, to say the least!

Poppins said...

DIdn't you post a version of this on your own blog? I'd loved it then and love it now.

Chox - finally I can say this to you: I have this book :-)
(ordered it off amazon for Poppin's bday after reading the review on UTBT's site)

Choxbox said...

utbt: will do ma'am :)

poppy: :)) and what does poppinkins say about it?!

Sheela said...

"I am just smitten with this book."
As if that isn't incentive enough for me to check this out :) Thanks UTBT!

Meera Sriram said...

Nice pick. Reminds me of 'little yellow, little blue' we read, & reviewed here - you might like it too.

the mad momma said...

:) lovely review - and I love the effort you've made to change the text colour in your post!

utbtkids said...

Thanks TMM

Meera a Leo Lionni book, I got to chk it out from the lib.

Sheela, Poppy tell us what you guys think of this book.

SSStory teller like I mentioned earlier, wonderful for a felt board story presentation.

sathish said...

“Dang, I could do it” -- Hallmark of a great book! :)

utbtkids said...

Precisely Satish.

Tharini said...

I can see where the brilliance of this book comes in. Its fantastic wordplay to appreciate as an adult. Would like to check this out and see how Akhil responds to it.

Anusha said...

One is awesome! proves again the strength in numbers.
the 4yo loves it and asks for repeat readings.

I think you'll also enjoy "Little Smudge" - very similar theme.

Meera Sriram said...

I saw this book at the library a few days ago and my mind instantly made the connection to your "colorful" review and the book cover here - we read it and thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks utbt.

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