Review of We Are One: How the World Adds Up

We Are One: How the World Adds Up
by Susan Hood; illus. by Linda Yan
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
11/21    978-1-5362-0114-7    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5362-2785-7    $9.99

Math meets philosophy, as Hood views numbers, specifically groups of one to ten, through a unique and ­thought-provoking lens: the Aristotelian concept that the whole can be greater — more useful, more remarkable, more valuable — than its ­individual components. “One can be one thing / all on its own — / one star, / one stream, / one stick, / one stone. / But those on their toes, those using their smarts, / know one can be more than the sum of its parts.” Take, for instance, “one stick.” When combined with other sticks, what can it be? More than just a woodpile, as Hood explains. It can be a campfire, a nest, or even a dam. Upbeat rhyming couplets offer more examples of other numeric groupings: two pieces of bread make a sandwich; two vows, a marriage. Three lines make up a haiku; three letters, the word you. At the bottom of each page, tidbits in prose provide helpful explanations, related trivia, and meaningful extras. Textured and whimsical, Yan’s digital illustrations feature a young girl dressed as a golden-yellow star who, ultimately, is joined by a diverse “constellation” of other star-children to celebrate the oneness of humanity. Sources, websites (including a kid-friendly list), and examples of other numeric groups are appended.

From the January/February 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger
Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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