Wednesday, April 13, 2016

One Family

One Family

Written by George Shannon; Illustrated by Blanca Gomez

Frances Foster Books, 2015, Ages K-2

This story does not specifically have a plot but rather numerous scenes piled together. Although they are good scenes and well done, they are not essential to the order of the story. The only reason they become necessary is because they count up from the number one to the number ten. The story basically goes page-by-page showing how the number one can actually represent numbers of more than one. For instance, this is shown as one pair of shoes, which is really two separate shoes but united they are one. These findings of things that can represent more than one, but referred to one is constantly relating back to the idea that a family is one. A family is one whole regardless of family size or make up. This is the basis of the book as it counts from 1-10 in order and ends each page with “a family is one.” 

I would describe the writer's style as simple and to the point. The author does not focus on developing the text or plot, but rather focuses solely on showing that the number one can represent different things counting to more than one. In addition, she is consistently trying to bring up the fact that a family is one whole. The author does not use a variety of literary devices and chooses a more simplistic vocabulary. The author is not very descriptive in her writing, but rather more straight forward and to the point. There are only a total of three short sentences per page and they are not long sentences showing that the author is quick in her style. With this being said, it does not mean it is a bad thing, but rather the author focuses solely on theme and the underlying message and neglects the other aspects of literature. 

The illustrations in this book are wonderful. They are complex and creative. They show real families and the differences within each family in a very positive light. The illustrations are bright and positive and use colors that make the pages come to life. The scenes that have been done are realistic and demonstrate the concepts and values of life today. The people within the book are all cheery and happy and show children a sense of happiness in terms of families and people in the world in general. The nature within the book looks crisp and pure and is shown in a simple, yet beautiful way. The illustrations in the book definitely complement the text and I think truly speaks for the lack of text that has been made in this book. The illustrations make up for the fact that things are not directly being explained and readers can visually interpret the author's theme and underlying message through these engaging illustrations. 

In my opinion, this book is great for many reasons. First, because it is a counting book and can help young children learn to count from one to ten in a fun and engaging way. Second, because I like how the author made a point to show that the number one does not actually always mean there is only one object but rather that a collection of things can make up one whole. Third, this was a great concept and it became an even greater concept when the author related it back to families. This showed readers that a family could be less than two but more than nine. It showed readers that families come in all shapes and sizes and have differences in who makes up the family. This is a very important concept especially in today’s society with the staggering amounts of more and more diverse families living on the planet. Fourth, I enjoyed this book because the text was simple and easy for young readers. Lastly, I think this book has awesome illustrations that complement the text and show the world in a bright and positive manner. Overall, I found this to be an awesome read for young learners and one I may perhaps even use in my classroom one day particularly if I have a younger age classroom. 

Review by Madeline Pugh

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