Review Blog

Sep 05 2010

I'm Number One by Michael Rosen

cover image

Ill. by Bob Graham. Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 9781406326024.
(Age 4-8) When a little girl goes off to school in the morning her toys are left lying on the floor. A-One, a drummer soldier decides to take over, saying 'A-One rules'. He instructs the toys to wind up his key, each time being quite scathing about the other toys and making derogatory remarks about them. He takes their belongs and puts on Maddy's hat, winds Siddy's scarf around his neck and hoists Sally's rucksack on his shoulders. However the other toys decide that they are not going to put up with A-One's bullying and start to make up funny rhymes of their own to show him that they are not intimidated by his behaviour.  A-One sees the humour in his situation and the other toys forgive his behaviour.
Bob Graham's illustrations are as delightful as ever. The toys are painted in beautiful watercolours and each one has some whimsical details and a lovely expression on its face. There are lots of details to examine, including an envelope ready to post to Mr Rosen, with his address on it. (I would have liked to see a letter addressed to Mr Graham as well!)
This is a challenging picture book that discusses bullying and the effect that put-downs can have on people. It also shows that humour can be a way to get the bully to see his behaviour in a new light. Changing words like useless and hopeless to hope-use add a touch a humour and the idea gives children a strategy to use if someone calls them things like that. The power of ganging up with friends against a bully and being able to forgive is also highlighted. Children will also get a clear picture of what is appropriate behaviour around their friends.
Pat Pledger

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