Having a young child in your house changes the types of books you read. Instead of some classical work of literature or theological treatise, you now find yourself reading books that have one word per page, and if you don't hide the book every so often, you'll find yourself reading that same book ad nauseum. I long for the day when my son can read Seuss or have Seuss read to him. Books that are nicely illustrated and have a brilliant message are hard to come by. Recently, I have recently had the pleasure of reading three kids books that fit the category of beautiful illustrations and powerful message. They are entitled Zero, One, and Two and all of them are written and illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi.
One was the first book written in this series. A blue blob was the protagonist and was described as a quiet color. He liked himself, until Red (the antagonist) came around. Red was a bully who picked on Blue and made him feel like less than himself. The other colors in the story (Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple) don't like how Red treats Blue, but also don't have the courage to stand up to Red. Eventually, the Number One comes along and stands up to Red and encourages Blue. Blue decides he wants to count as well, and turns into a number as well. So do the rest of the numbers, except for Red. Blue decides to be the bigger color/number and invites Red to count as well. Red, therefore, becomes a number as well and the colors/numbers all become friends. This was a very well written book that teaches children about numbers, colors, bullying, being proud of who you are, and standing up for yourself and others.
Zero was the second book written in this series, and my favorite of the three. The protagonist of this book is the number Zero. Zero, however, does not like herself. Whenever, she looks at herself, she only sees a big hole in her middle. Like the rest of the numbers, she wants to count! In a sad development, she tries to change her shape. She stretches herself to try and look like the number One. She twists and turns herself to try and look like the number Eight. Eventually, she realizes a way that she can count as well. If you put Zero after a One, it turns into Ten. If you put another Zero after it, you get One Hundred. Thus, Zero is in fact one of the most important numbers there is, and has value like the rest of the numbers. The book like One is gorgeously illustrated and teaches powerful life lessons. For starters, you must learn to find value in yourself and others. I also read somewhere that it teaches lessons about body shapes, and I can see that if I think about it, but I guess as a man, it wasn't the first lesson that popped in my head.
Two is the third and most recent book in Kathryn Otoshi's series. This book tells the story of two friends, One and Two. Three comes along one day, though, and supplants Two. Three convinces One to be friends with only him and abandon Two, which he unfortunately does. This not only devastates Two, but also leads to a battle of Odds vs Evens. Two becomes stressed out, and begins to split. Zero, thankfully, talks some sense into Two and helps Two settle the "war" between Odds and Evens. Three apologizes, and the numbers decide to branch out of their Odd and Even prejudice and befriend numbers from the other group. One and Two also become best friends again. This book felt a little more forced than the previous two. It did a good job teaching children about odds and evens and greater than and less than, but the social issues were a bit of a reach. Your children will definitely learn about friendship and can learn about forgiveness (if taught right). You can also teach them about the importance of finding true friends, and not having to "beg" someone to be your friend when they desert you for someone else.
These books were provided to me for free by the author, Kathryn Otoshi, in exchange for honest reviews. If you found these reviews helpful, click here, here, and or here, and hit Yes!