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Zero Hardcover – September 15, 2010
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2–Zero has a complex–she finds herself unglamorous. Furthermore, with a hole in her center, she feels she doesn't count as much as her fellow numbers do. Twisting herself into the shape of 8 or 9 doesn't work; her attempt only leaves an empty feeling inside. Then one day, Zero discovers that by joining together with another number, 1, for example, she can become 10, or 100, or 1000, increasing her value. Soon, the others do the same–2 joins 3, 111 joins 5, and 4 and 8 join 2 –escalating their worth and pleasure as well. At last, Zero feels whole, “right in her center.” Otoshi's story plays out against either stark white or dense black pages where Zero is strikingly depicted in broad silver brush strokes. In contrast, the others numbers cartwheel across the pages in bright splashy colors. Readers swept into the arresting artwork will soon be captivated by the importance of numbers. However, the underlying mission of the book–to elevate children's self-worth–will take an intuitive parent or teacher to weave the two concepts together.–Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Zero sees herself as a big round number with emptiness inside. The other, more colorful numbers have fun, and they count. After trying to stretch and pinch herself into another shape (1, 8, or 9) and making a bombastic grand entrance that sends the other numbers tumbling, Zero is ready to listen to some wise words: “‘Every number has value,’ said Seven. ‘Be open. You’ll find a way.’” Inspired, Zero shows the numbers how to “count even more.” With her help, 1 becomes 10, 2 becomes 20, and so on. Zero realizes her value and feels whole. Whether seen as an introduction to zero or to self-esteem, this picture book delivers on many levels. The simple story and colorful, minimalist art will intrigue children, even those too young to understand every bit of wordplay and wisdom in the text, while older kids will find food for thought. On the dramatic, black book jacket, the raised letters of the title include Zer in shining silver, and O in a silver that shines and also shimmers with subtle, shifting colors. Every aspect of the book’s illustration and design seems carefully thought out, beautifully executed, and pleasing. An impressive sequel to One (2008). Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan
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fun, educational value, clever concept, appeals equally to adults, good design and colors