Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2010 September #2 *Starred Review* Zero sees herself as a big round number with emptiness inside. The other, more colorful numbers have fun, and they count. After trying to stretch and pinch herself into another shape (1, 8, or 9) and making a bombastic grand entrance that sends the other numbers tumbling, Zero is ready to listen to some wise words: "âEvery number has value,' said Seven. âBe open. You'll find a way.'" Inspired, Zero shows the numbers how to "count even more." With her help, 1 becomes 10, 2 becomes 20, and so on. Zero realizes her value and feels whole. Whether seen as an introduction to zero or to self-esteem, this picture book delivers on many levels. The simple story and colorful, minimalist art will intrigue children, even those too young to understand every bit of wordplay and wisdom in the text, while older kids will find food for thought. On the dramatic, black book jacket, the raised letters of the title include Zer in shining silver, and O in a silver that shines and also shimmers with subtle, shifting colors. Every aspect of the book's illustration and design seems carefully thought out, beautifully executed, and pleasing. An impressive sequel to One (2008).
Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2010 August #3
Otoshi builds on the success of her acclaimed picture book about bullying, One, with another moral lesson whose characters are digits. It's Zero who's in trouble this time as she compares herself to the other brightly colored numbers, all of whom seem to be doing marvelously well. "But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero felt empty inside." Otoshi's delicate brushwork portrays Zero as a wistful gray outline whose uncertain edges echo her anxiety. Clever wordplay ("If I were like One, then I could count too!" thinks Zero) reinforces nicely paced action as Zero tries and fails to look like other numbers ("Zero twisted and turned to try to be Eight") until Seven tells her, "Every number has value.... Be open. You'll find a way." And she does; adding a zero to every number, the group finds, "bring more value to everyone." What could have been a pedestrian just-be-yourself tale is distinguished by Otoshi's simple and lucid text, judicious use of white space, and a voice that stays sincere without becoming overly moralistic. Ages 3â7. (Sept.)
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School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2010 November
K-Gr 2âZero has a complexâshe finds herself unglamorous. Furthermore, with a hole in her center, she feels she doesn't count as much as her fellow numbers do. Twisting herself into the shape of 8 or 9 doesn't work; her attempt only leaves an empty feeling inside. Then one day, Zero discovers that by joining together with another number, 1, for example, she can become 10, or 100, or 1000, increasing her value. Soon, the others do the sameâ2 joins 3, 111 joins 5, and 4 and 8 join 2 âescalating their worth and pleasure as well. At last, Zero feels whole, "right in her center." Otoshi's story plays out against either stark white or dense black pages where Zero is strikingly depicted in broad silver brush strokes. In contrast, the others numbers cartwheel across the pages in bright splashy colors. Readers swept into the arresting artwork will soon be captivated by the importance of numbers. However, the underlying mission of the bookâto elevate children's self-worthâwill take an intuitive parent or teacher to weave the two concepts together.âBarbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
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