Sunday, February 12, 2012

One, by Kathryn Otoshi

This book is 'one' of a kind.  Who would've thought that circles of color that transform into numbers could be characters in a story!  Yet, Kathryn Otoshi uses these simple constructs to address the complex issue of bullying.  She begins her story with Red who picks on Blue- "Red is hot.  Blue is not."  Yellow, Green, Purple, and Orange look on as Red makes fun of Blue, scared that Red may do the same to them.  They don't like what Red does and secretly try to cheer up Blue, but none of them know how to make Red stop being mean to Blue.  Then along comes One.  One is different; he's straight and tall.  He stands up to Red and in doing so gives the other colors the courage to do the same.  We see their transformation from blobs of color to numbers as Yellow becomes Two, Green becomes Three, Purple becomes Four, Orange becomes 5, and finally, Blue becomes 6, beautifully illustrating the concept of "power in numbers."  Red begins to roll away, confused and feeling smaller.  And just when you want to say, "Good!  He's a big, bad bully and deserves to roll away feeling bad!", Blue stops him with this question: "Can Red be hot and Blue be cool?"  This stops Red right in his tracks.  Then One joins in and says, "Red can count too!"  Any guesses on what number Red becomes?!  The book ends with them having fun counting together, because after all, everyone counts!