I love picture books. I really do. Even so, I read many, like many, but don't FALL IN LOVE with many. On a whim, I bought Kathryn Otoshi's One. I liked the description. It sounded like a clever concept book. It is. And so much more.
One personifies colors. Blue is quiet, Orange is outgoing, and Red is a hot head. But this is not a simple concept book. Layered on the colors and the personality traits is the bigger theme of bullying. And then, on top of that, she adds counting. One shows up. "He was funny. He made the colors laugh."
Through Otoshi's humor and wit, the simple concepts of colors and counting are transformed into a tightly crafted, astonishingly accessible book about bullying and assertiveness.
To say this book is clever doesn't do it justice. Otoshi plays on the various meanings of "blue" and "count" to develop her story. In the end, the bully is transformed because "Everyone counts!" The final page is the clincher: "Sometimes it just takes One." What an incredible lesson, for children and adults. I know I need that affirmation.
Powerful and beautiful. This ONE is now on my shelf!