Two By Otoshi, Kathryn Picture Book - 2014 | First edition.

One Two! We always start with this inseparable pair of best friends. Then follows Three, who butts in shouting "odds are best." Two reacts like any child would. For the third time Otoshi imbues something new into the concept picture book. As it was with One, and Zero, human characteristics and cultural beliefs are attributed to the numbers; Two is friendly, and Three is the third wheel and "bad". Colours continue to differentiate these "characters" and their moods. The cheerful yellow of Two sheds blues and even green after his friend leaves him. When the even numbers come to cheer him up, they create an even bigger divide among the group. Thus the concept of odd and even numbers gets introduced. It takes the wisdom of Zero, who recognizes that they all have value, to reason with Two, a number that connects. Math terms, and superb rhyme form a unique language for this series, one that teaches a very specific lesson, in this above pettiness. Everyone can have more than one friend, and having different types of friends means different types of fun. The richness of Otoshi's formula of number, colour, and lesson is countered by the sheer simplicity of the illustrations. Numbers and words visually tell the story through arrangement and variation of form, achieving a surprising amount with so little. It is a testament to the author's skill that these digits convey more personality and emotion than many characters with faces do. Here's hoping that there will be a fourth book for Three.

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