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I’M NUMBER ONE by Michael Rosen


by Michael Rosen & illustrated by Bob Graham

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4535-9
Publisher: Candlewick

Mother and daughter leave for the day while four toys and the dog stay home. The toy soldier, A-One, declares he is in charge and commands each of the other toys to wind his key. Of course they are “no good,” “so bad” and “the worst” at doing so. Wound up, A-One continues with more name-calling and insults. The other toys, with a touch of humor, twist and combine all of the hurtful words A-One has spoken into nonsense phrases. Eventually everyone laughs, including the bossy soldier. What follows are kind, apologetic actions from A-One until he is “one of the gang.” Graham skillfully uses pen and watercolors to portray each scene in his signature cartoon style. The toys stand out in saturated color against the setting’s pale washes, and new readers will appreciate the subtle changes in text highlighting dialogue. Most dramatic is a close-up of A-One realizing how silly he has been. Sure to provoke discussions about bullying, especially since retaliation, even in this rather gentle way, could be deemed controversial. (Picture book. 4-7)