From School Library Journal
PreSchool-K—This is a deceptively simple color and counting book that turns into a lesson on bullying. Whenever they meet, Blue is picked on by Red: "Red is HOT. Blue is NOT." The other colors like Blue but are intimidated by the bluster so they say nothing, and soon Red is bossing everyone around. But then One comes. It is funny and brave and confronts Red: "If someone is mean and picks on me, I, for One, stand up and say, No." All the other colors follow One's lead and become numbers too. Yellow is two, Green, three, etc. Red begins to feel left out and tries to bully Blue, but Blue ignores him and changes to Six: "Red can be really HOT,' he says, but Blue can be super COOL.'" The rest of the numbers stick up for Blue, but offer Red the opportunity to join in the counting, and all ends well. The book is well designed with bright colored circles and numbers on stark white pages accompanied by black print. The text is very simple but meaningful, and the moral is subtly told. Red is not ostracized but included in the game, and the essential point of one person making a difference is emphasized by the ending: "Sometimes it just takes One." This is an offering with great potential for use with the very young in a variety of ways.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
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*Starred Review* There are many stories about bullies, but few have looked at the subject in such an attractive, original way. Using round splashes of watercolors as their personas, Otoshi introduces a group of colors. Quiet Blue likes looking at the sky. The other colors have their own characteristics: Orange is outgoing; Green is bright; Purple is regal. Red, though, is a hothead and likes to tease: “Red is hot. Blue is not.” Blue feels bad, and though the other colors comfort him, they’re afraid of Red. In a dramatic and effective spread, Red, feeling mean, grows into a bigger, ever-angrier ball. Enter One. The sturdy numeral wins over the other colors with laughter, making Red even madder, but when he tries his bullying ways on One, One stands up to him. The other colors follow, turning Red into a small ball. He is rolling away when Blue gracefully offers him a chance to be counted. The use of colors and numbers gives the story a much-needed universality, and there is a visceral power in the “strength-in-numbers” gambit (although it should be noted that it can work for ill as well as good). Otoshi cleverly offers a way to talk to very young children about the subject of bullying, even as she helps put their imaginations to work on solutions. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper