Friday, February 4, 2011

Story Time with Bookjones - One

I love this book.
I love it on soooo many levels.
How do I love One, by Kathryn Otoshi? Let me count the ways.
I love the cover art: the pool of blue watercolor surrounded by an "O" reminiscent of the Zen Buddhist Enso . I love the first page, when we are introduced to Blue, the quiet color who enjoys looking up at the sky.

I love the way Otoshi has crafted a seemingly simple story about colors and numbers, which, like a Zen koan, is ever so much more than it appears. One is a story about being bullied. It's also about courage, belonging, honoring diversity, and ultimately, about compassion.
Blue and his friends Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple have a problem. The problem is Red. Red is a bully who teases Blue, taunting "Red is HOT, Blue is NOT".
Although his friends sympathize, they are too afraid of Red to speak up in Blue's defense. And "Every time Red said something mean and no one spoke up, he got bigger...and bigger...and Bigger...."

Until 1
came. 1 is not afraid of Red. He stands up to Red's bullying, and gives the colors the courage to stand up and be counted. Red, now small and outnumbered, begins to roll away - until Blue calls out "Can Red be hot ....AND Blue be cool?" With grace and compassion, Blue invites Red to be counted, too.
I love the final page, with it's message: "Sometimes it just takes One."

This book belongs in every preschool and elementary school classroom. Profound without being preachy, One will generate lots of conversation for children who have first hand experience with the Reds of the world - and perhaps give the Reds some insight into their own behavior, as well.

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