Perfect Picture Book Friday – One

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Title: One

Author & Illustrator: Kathryn Otoshi

Publisher: KO Kids Books, 2008

Suitable for: Ages 5-8

Themes: Bullying, Standing Up for Oneself

Opening Sentences:

Blue was a quiet color.

He enjoyed looking up at the sky, floating on the waves, and on days he felt daring … splashing in rain puddles.

Every once in a while he wished he could be more sunny like Yellow. Or bright like Green. More regal like Purple. Or outgoing like Orange. But overall he liked being Blue … except when he was with Red.


This unique story uses color splotches to discuss the issue of bullying. Blue is a quiet, happy color unless hot head RED is around. The other colors Orange, Yellow, Green, and Purple see what is going on, but they don’t know how to stop the bullying. Until, One comes and shows them how to stand up to Red.

Activities: Here are links to some activities and discussion questions.

Why I Like This:

This book is wonderful on many different levels. Young kids will enjoy identifying the colors and numbers. Older kids will understand the bullying issue that is going on, and be able to relate to the colors’ emotions. I enjoyed the clever use of certain words which had double-meaning. For example the word ‘count’ in  “Blue saw the colors change (into numbers). He wanted to count.”, means both Blue wanted to change into a number, and he wanted to have value.

If you would like to know more about inspiration for the book, check out this insightful interview at Character Counts. You will need to scroll down the page about halfway.

If you like this book also checkout her sequel called Zero. This book deals with the issue of self-esteem.

Would love to hear your thoughts on “One” book. Did your kids/students understand the book, were they able to relate?


26 Comments to “Perfect Picture Book Friday – One”

  1. A very timely topic. Sounds like it is handled very nicely. I’ll have to check this out.

  2. That looks like a very simple way to deal with bullying without making anyone uncomfortable. I hope I won’t need it, but I’m glad I know about it, thanks!

  3. I’m so glad you posted this book, Darshana. When I was updating the list yesterday I was thinking it was a shame we didn’t have more titles on bullying and hoping we’d get some more! This book looks like a wonderful one because it deals with the issue from a unique perspective that kids might find less threatening and less preachy then some others. I haven’t read it yet, but i will have to add it to my mile-long list!

    • This book is great for kids. It is not preachy but more about standing for yourself and others around you. The book has a nice ending as well, which I won’t give away.

  4. Thank you so much for introducing me to Blue… it looks like one I would want to add to our school library. I like the realistic presentation of how the other colors don’t dare stand up to Red even though they are supportive of Blue… great book for discussion.

  5. I love the trailer! I like how the colors are actually “people”
    Erik 😉

  6. My daughter did this story as a play in Girl Scouts. I didn’t realize it came from a book! This is why I LOVE PPBF!!!

    • That is soo cool! Must have been a wonderful play. Do each girl have a colored dot and then later a colored number? One of the ‘activities’ link is to put on a skit.

  7. I really love this book. Very simple, creative and powerful! I loved the trailer too, as it gave me a better idea of the book. I imagine children would love this book and it could quickly become a favorite. Also like the hint of color related to numbers, as many children see numbers in colors. Great choice! And, thanks for the introduction.

  8. I love when simplicity is done well. It really is a very hard thing to do. I will definitely be looking for this book! 🙂

  9. Lovely review full of resources for more information. Thanks for that! I haven’t read this book but I’m very tempted after your review.

  10. Excellent-sounding book, Darshana! Thank you. I must find it and read it, and Zero. I did a series of blog posts on my old blog, on how picture books dealt with the subject of bullying, but I don’t think I encountered this one.

  11. This sounds like a very interesting book. One that is engaging as well as thought provoking. I bet even some younger children would get the anti-bullying message. Books like these help to build a foundation, I believe, that can last a lifetime. Thanks for the review, I will add it to my list for the library.

  12. A great book! And Darshana- I saw a comment on my blog from you and then I approved it and I swear it disappeared! Could re-post or e-mail me at There was an important question in your comment and I hate to ignore it!!!

    • Hi Stacey, thanks for stopping. Unfortunately, I am not sure what I had posted. I know a while back I had asked how to get my 5 year old back into reading, since for a while she had completely stopped letting me read to her as well as reading to me. Since then things have changed and I am allowed to read to her again.

    • That was it! So glad that all is now well…

  13. Thanks for reviewing One. I will definitely check it out. I hadn’t heard of it. The trailer was awesome.

  14. I appreciate the review. It was nicely done and made me realize just how early the bullying can start. (We homeschool) I will definitely check this one out. The trailer is excellent. *waving*

  15. Thanks for making this selection for PPBF, Darshana. You may be interested in knowing that Jan 23 through Jan 27 is NO Name-Calling Week. See :, which I found for my pic next week which also a no bullying book.

    Thanks also for visiting me on my blog. 🙂

  16. Thank you for the review, and especially for posting the first lines. That’s how I choose a book. I do a lot of first line/paragraph posts at Pen and Ink

  17. Love love love this book! Otoshi’s book Zero is also a really good one. Great lessons for kids!

  18. I read Zero and loved it. I’m going to have to find this one now and check it out as well. Such a simple way to make a powerful statement.

  19. Hi Darshana, this is a beautiful book! Thank you for introducing me to One and Blue – I also enjoyed the book trailer – right now I am teaching preservice teachers and we are exploring books that also deal with bullying, and books which foster a sense of community – I should include this one in my list. Again, many thanks!

  20. I read this book a few years ago to my son, but I don’t think he really understood what it was about. But he was rather young then. I should try it again because it’s a great book. Thanks for linking up to The Children’s Bookshelf.

    • Thanks. It’s National Bullying Awareness Month so it seemed appropriate to link this title up. When I read it my younger daughter was 3yrs, she enjoyed it for the color recognition and numbers. The 5yr did seem to understand the larger concept of bullying.

%d bloggers like this: