Written by George Shannon, Illustrated by Blanca Gomez
Frances Foster Books, 2015
One is one.
The plot in a nutshell: There are lots of different ways to be a family.
Starting with one, we count to ten and see family groups of different numbers. In each picture, specific items are counted and it’s pointed out again and again that each group makes up one family. We see single parent families, same sex families, mixed race families and extended families that include grandparents. At the end of the book, we see all the families together and the book tells us that we are all one world and one big family within it.
It was tough to come up with a summary of this book, as it’s essentially a counting book that goes through the numbers one through ten. Of course, author George Shannon gives us a lot more than just a counting book here. The book counts items that are collective units of other things, such as one ring of keys or one flock of birds and in this correlation, we see that a family unit can be made of so many different permutations.
Illustrator Blanca Gomez takes this expansive thought even further in the illustrations by sprinkling all of these families with a heaping helping of diversity. I think just about anyone reading this book will find a scenario here that represents their family and many of the families they know. All of the people here are pretty adorably drawn, with very basic facial features. It’s a good book that works on a lot of levels, with cute pictures that make it fun.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to families and that’s how it works best.