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One Hardcover – October 1, 2008
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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
As for the story:
My one- and two-year-old's enjoy naming the colors and hearing the story read. My two-year-old also loves the counting component.
As they get older, there will be more and more that they can take from it. Color names, color moods, numbers, counting, self-acceptance, responding to bullies, forgiveness, courage, defending others, etc.This book has something for every age.
I teared up the first time I read it. Simple, sweet, powerful.