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79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars is Not Enough -- Amazing New Book About Bullying (with colors and counting too), October 21, 2008
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This review is from: One (Hardcover)
I am so moved by this book, I barely know where to start writing about it. My daughter just received this for her 6th birthday, and it is maybe the most unique new idea I have seen in children's books in a really long time. If this doesn't become a bestseller, it's a crime.

Using the metaphor of colors, Otoshi gently creates a group of kids with different personalities. Blue is quiet and contemplative, yellow is sunny, green is bright, purple is regal, orange is outgoing, but red is HOT -- a bully, who picks on blue. The others colors are sympathetic and like blue and commiserate, but don't tell red to stop, and red becomes bigger and stronger until everyone is bullied and afraid and there seems to be nothing they can do. (This part of the story actually subtly but hauntingly echoes that story about the Holocaust when they come after one group and then another and when they come after the storyteller there is no one left to help).

But then the story shifts when "1" arrives. He stands up to red and gives the other colors the courage to do the same. As they find their courage they shift from shapeless colors into numbers -- answering to "1" declaration to say no when picked on with "Me Two" and "Me Three." The metaphor rolls on nicely when blue declares he wants to "COUNT" as well. And when red, in desperation, bullies blue again, blue becomes 6. When red attacks, the numbers stand together, and red becomes small.

Maybe the most lovely moment of the book is when blue invites red to count too....red becomes 7 and joins in. The final message of the book is that "sometimes is just takes One."

In today's world, this is such an important message. One person has and can change the world, and it's a small act that can do so. We never know how our actions can make a difference. Even in it's this books's most simple interpretation, with bullying is such a critical issue on the playground today, this book sends the message of saying no and and standing together in a really accessible and non-preachy way. It's hard to understand how since they are just blobs of paint, but somehow Otoshi gives the colors such personality you can see kids' personalities just standing there - but so much more beautiful and simple than an "afterschool special type" book illustrated with actual kids can do it.

On the wider message, that one action/person can change the world, the book invites discussion with parents and classmates and teachers, and that is what excites me most of all. This book should be in every classroom and on every child's bookshelf. I plan to get it immediately to donate to my daughter's classroom in honor of her birthday, and I suspect it will be a primary feature in "Stand Up To Bullies Day" which I think is coming soon.

Please by this book for a child as a gift. It is my absolute favorite thing my daughter received for her birthday.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I, for One, think this book is amazing!, December 7, 2008
This review is from: One (Hardcover)
I read this book to my 7 year-old son tonight. As a fairly non-aggressive child, he has had a few experiences with older children who some would call bullies. Interestingly, he seemed to be quite aware that Red's actions were more a symptom than a cause. He said, "If they had just included Red at the beginning, maybe he wouldn't feel left out."

I would highly recommend this book to classroom teachers, therapists, and anyone else who works with children.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational book with a strong message, February 25, 2011
This review is from: One (Hardcover)
I rarely review picture books. It's not that I don't love them. It's just that I'm a YA writer and there are so many YA books and only so many time to read and review them. So it has to be a particularly special picture book for me to review it. And let me tell you, this one is it. The illustrations, though simple, are quite lovely and colorful. It would draw any child's eye. But it's the story that sold me. Because although ONE is in many ways educational, teaching kids counting and colors, it also deals with the issue of bullying.

I know, right? How does an author pull those elements together? Not without serious thought, I'm sure. The basic premise is that the color red is bullying all the other colors, but blue especially. And no one will defend Blue or do anything about it. Until one day One arrives and stands up to Red. No matter what Red says, One will not back down. This is enough to encourage the colors, one by one, to stand up to Red and be counted. And in the end, Blue finally finds his voice, too, and lets himself also be counted--Blue finally sees his own worth and understands that he, too, has value. And all it took was One to stand up to the bully.

It's a pretty powerful message, I think. Mob mentality works both ways--to create bullies, but also to bring them down. In keeping silent, all the colors aided and abetted the bullying of poor Blue. But once One spoke up, and then all the rest and the rest, the mob of "worthy" colors knocked Red down to size.

Of course, it's cool that this book will also help kiddos learn to count and recognize colors, but the message behind it makes this book stand out. Bullies exist at any age; you never know what your child is facing on the playground or at preschool--your child may not even realize that he's being bullied. ONE can open up that conversation with the tiny tot. And given that bullying is a huge issue, it seems there's no age too young to discuss it. My hat's off to Ms. Otoshi. I'm impressed with this one (this ONE).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book which touches on bullying, friends, and accepting yourself, April 12, 2009
This review is from: One (Hardcover)
This booked was introduced to me by a friend who runs the "Ovation Company" which brings anti-bullying programs to middle and elementary schools. Both of us like the subtle messages in the book. The book starts out with showing how the color blue has many friends and how he sometimes envies his friends, but overall he likes being blue. The book talks about standing up for yourself and how friends stick up for each other. The book even touches on how the bully often feels left out and the only way he knows how to make friends is to bully them. The book shows how to reach out to the bully and include the bully in the group.

We have read "One" to our high school peer counseling class and they liked the book as well as my daughter's fifth grade class, and my son's third grade class. If a teacher wanted a simple book with powerful messages to read to any age group this book would have to be in the top five.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching story, May 21, 2009
By 
mtminihan (New Orleans, LA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One (Hardcover)
My three year old, who is not a big talker, came home from school one day talking about this book. Since it make such an impression on him, I knew I had to get it. It's a very cute story of a group of friends who not only stood up to a bully, but then compassionately included him in their game. It really should win an award. I'm proud to have it in our library.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous book for kids and classrooms, November 25, 2008
By 
Rand McNally (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One (Hardcover)
This is an amazing book. Not preachy, it uses color, rhythm, and drama to create a short fable about how to overcome oppression. While you first think of schoolyard bullies, it's really about more than that: it's about people banding together from a sense of inclusion to defeat their enemies by bringing them into the group. This is one of the most important books of the year, with a message that is simple, powerful, unforgettable, and uplifting. Parents, teachers, buy this book and read it to your children!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surreal, minimalist picturebook about standing up to bullies, November 16, 2008
This review is from: One (Hardcover)
One is a surreal, minimalist picturebook about standing up to bullies, but instead of starring humans or anthropomorphic animals, One assigns personalities to smears of color. The Red smear starts bullying the other colors, puffing itself up big - but then the grey number 1 comes, tells jokes, and refuses to back down no matter how much Red postures. "One turned to the colors and said, 'If someone is mean and picks on me, I, for One, stand up and say, No.'" The other color smears agree and turn themselves into numbers as well; even Red learns that it can get along with the others, though it takes some convincing! The unforgettable, simple tale and its resounding metaphor is highly recommended for parents and children to share. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fell head over heels in love!, May 16, 2010
This review is from: One (Hardcover)
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for every child, August 17, 2011
This review is from: One (Hardcover)
This is my children's (and mine) FAVORITE book. The message is universal and so brilliantly crafted. So well done. I made my local librarian buy the book so others could enjoy it as I have.

Danielle Bannister, Author of Pulled
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empowering book about bullying, June 13, 2011
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This review is from: One (Hardcover)
What I love about this simple, yet powerful book is that it shows the reader that WE have the power to stop bullying. We don't have to be victims. I also love that the bully is eventually accepted and learns to "count" too. What a wonderfully told story that all ages can relate to. Highly recommended.
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One
One by Kathryn Otoshi (Hardcover - October 1, 2008)
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