We Are One: How the World Adds Up by Susan Hood, illustrated by Linda Yan


We Are One: How the World Adds Up by Susan Hood, illustrated by Linda Yan. Candlewick, 2021. 9781536201147

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Concepts/picture book

What did you like about the book? This rhyming picture book explains numbers by counting parts of things in the world around us. One campfire has many sticks; a snowflake has six sides; baseball has nine innings. Each spread has a simple rhyme across the tops of the pages, with a paragraph of information in smaller print on the bottoms. Exuberant digital art complements the concepts beautifully, and populates the pages with kids of many skin colors and abilities. There are several pages of source notes (!) and two pages of lists of things by number, counting down from 10 to 1: ten pins in bowling, nine Supreme Court justices, two numerals in a binary number system. For lovers of numbers and numbered lists, this book offers much to think about (and explain!)

Anything you didn’t like about it? I can’t be sure who the book is targeted for. The simple rhyming lines at the tops of pages mostly give examples kids will understand, such as one sandwich is comprised of two slices of bread, but there are other examples which will not mean much to young kids, such as “Five acts tell the story of one Shakespeare play.” There’s so much to explain here! I think that the book would find broader appeal with more relatable examples. How about the five points on a star instead? I also think that the paragraphs of information at the page bottoms could have been rephrased in simpler language.

To whom would you recommend this book? For families with kids ages 4-7 who love counting.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: December 30, 2021

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