There are plenty of books about colours and numbers. There are also many books about feelings and how to treat other people with care and respect. There is only one book that combines all of these things – One by Kathryn Otoshi.
Through the use of colour and stunningly simple illustrations, Otoshi tells the story of Blue, who is continually picked on by Red – ‘Red is hot. Blue is not.’ Other colours are introduced – Orange is outgoing, Yellow has a sunny disposition, Green is bright and Purple is regal. The others colours like Blue but are intimidated by Red’s loudness and bossiness, so they do nothing when Blue is picked on. Then One appears. One is brave, stands up to Red and wins over the other colours with humour. Soon all the colours are enjoying a counting game and Red, angry and dejected begins to roll away when Blue kindly offers him the chance to join the game – ‘Red can be really HOT,’ he says, ‘but Blue can be super COOL.’
This book is a very gentle, perfectly pitched introduction to the issues of bullying and playground politics for preschoolers. The use of bright circles for each of the colour characters is stunning in its simplicity – Otoshi’s colours just ooze personality. Most importantly, the lasting message, ‘Sometimes it takes just one’ is as relevant for children as it is for adults.
One is available from Fishpond for $22.49.