Zero is book two after One…

June 1, 2011 at 7:43 am Leave a comment

Zero written and illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi; published by KO Kids Books, San Rafael, CA; 2010.

Zero has a big, empty hole right in the center.  Unlike fellow numbers 1 through 9, zero has no value.  Zero tries desperately to reshape into other numbers: scrunching to look like one, or twisting into eight or nine, all to no avail.  Lucky for zero, number seven points out that it’s what inside that counts, and zero’s center is really open, not a hole.  With that self-esteem boost, Zero joins other numbers to make their values soar!  Instead of feeling the hole, zero feels whole!

This 1-2-3 book introduces the concept of place value in addition to counting from 0 through 9.  As a bonus, discovering a place in the order of things help children identify what makes them unique and how they might fit into the bigger picture.  This book provides innumerable opportunities to engage children, from identifying the numbers (each of which has a unique color consistently presented throughout the book) to counting and identifying larger numbers.

Otoshi’s designs are integral to the effect of the book.  The cover is black, like nothing, but the title, Zero, and the end pages are a flashy silver.  The juxtaposition of nothingness and flash help keep the story moving forward as zero isn’t nothing, it’s necessary to make the other numbers more than they are alone.  Also, giving each number a unique color is important in helping the youngest children identify them.  I like that zero’s color is a dull gray throughout the book but is a snazzy silver on the cover and end pages; zero is a hero!

Of course this book should be included on library booklists of 1-2-3 books.  Teachers should be aware of the book also, since it introduces the concept of value to the basic number books.  I think I’d pair it in a library counting or numbers kit along with a DVD or CD of the Schoolhouse Rock: Multiplication Rock song “My Hero, Zero.”  Or I’d make the recommendation on the library’s website with a YouTube link to the video.


Entry filed under: ABC or 1-2-3 Book. Tags: , , , .

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