________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 28 . . . . March 25, 2016


You Are One.

Sara O'Leary. Artwork by Karen Klassen.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2016.
24 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-072-8.

Preschool / Ages 1-3.

Review by Michelle Superle.

*** /4



Now that you are one, you are trying all kinds of new foods.
Some you like to eat.
Some you would rather wear.

You Are One, by Sara O'Leary, is a joyful picture book celebrating the milestones children achieve by the time they turn one-year-old. Babies and young toddlers will enjoy both the simple, respectful observations of their activities and the captivating illustrations of babies' faces throughout.

      One of the book's most powerful elements is its second person narration which seems to speak to listeners. Many young children will enjoy being reminded of their impressive achievements in this positive manner. On the other hand, a more interactive component that involves children would also be welcome; You Are One would be even stronger if it included questions addressed to children. Such an invitation to reflect on their own ideas about their accomplishments would encourage young listeners to take some ownership of their self-understanding.

      Another equally powerful element of You Are One is its irresistible illustrations. Ink-and-wash pictures of babies demonstrating the activities described appear on each page. The large close-ups of faces are likely to be especially compelling for baby readers. If the babies portrayed seem a little too carefully diverse, then this should perhaps be considered an asset rather than a liability; there are boys and girls of all shapes, sizes, and colours.

      This lovely book would make an ideal first-birthday gift for any baby. It would also make a strong addition to any library collection—especially in libraries with robust baby programs. Because You Are One is the first in a three-part series, the books will keep pace with their young readers through the toddler years.


Michelle Superle is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, where she teaches children's literature and creative writing courses. She has served twice as a judge for the TD Award for Canadian Children's Literature, and is the author of Black Dog, Dream Dog and Contemporary, English-language Indian Children's Literature (Routledge, 2011).

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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