One

Cover

Written and Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Viking, 2003

Here they are, all 10 little armadillos in one bathtub. Look carefully at that pink one. His name is Six.

The plot in a nutshell: A young armadillo believes he’s the best at everything

Six wants to stand out among his 9 siblings, so he declares that he’s #1. He brags that he’s the tallest, the smartest and the #1 inventor. He also claims to be the fastest, the bravest and the strongest and he backs all of these up with fun facts. He claims to have more friends than anyone, including such noted celebrities as Pinocchio, Winnie-the-Pooh and the Stinky Cheese Man. He lists all the things he wants for his birthday. His family agrees that he’s the #1 clown, show-off, chatterbox, storyteller and dreamer.

Super Six saves the day!  (And is that a picture of his friend Pinocchio on the wall?)

Super Six saves the day! (And is that a picture of his friend Pinocchio on the wall?)

Author/illustrator Vladimir Radunsky puts a lot of humor into this story and keeps you rooting for this silly little armadillo. Instead of feeling left out or awkward because he is different from his siblings (he’s pink and they are green), Six embraces his individuality and runs with it, which is a message that always bears repeating. Even when his bragging gets ridiculous, you find yourself appreciating the lengths he goes to set himself apart. And I love his family’s reaction, because they do take him to task for his bragging, but you can tell that they appreciate the upside of having him in their family.

The artwork reflects the story’s humor, with the armadillos drawn as funny little anthropomorphic animals with big eyes and striped tails. The artwork is colorful and creative, with smudged backgrounds that work beautifully with Six’s imagination. I really loved this book, especially the funny little touches that made Six such an interesting character, with his sassy little beret. As far as I’m concerned, he has a lot to brag about.

And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that people with big dreams (and/or big mouths) sure keep life interesting.

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