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One Boy
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One Boy

5.0 1
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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This die-cut book explores two (!) concepts: counting and words-within-words, while also telling a satisfying story about the power of art and imagination in one child's life.

ONE boy all alONE
two SEAls in the SEA
three APEs no escAPE
four monKEYs hold the KEY

A boy appears on the scene surrounded by empty chairs and looking awfully


This die-cut book explores two (!) concepts: counting and words-within-words, while also telling a satisfying story about the power of art and imagination in one child's life.

ONE boy all alONE
two SEAls in the SEA
three APEs no escAPE
four monKEYs hold the KEY

A boy appears on the scene surrounded by empty chairs and looking awfully lonely. He's got a backpack with a few splattered brushes hanging out. Suddenly, the pages of this book are filled with seals, apes, monkeys, and more. Brilliantly simple, and simply brilliant. T

One Boy is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. This title has Common Core connections.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Laura Vaccaro Seeger proves herself a master of the concept book, once again combining text, art and design into a uniquely crafted ‘early reader'.” —Philadelphia Parents Express
Jim Holt
This picture book acquaints a child with the numbers from one to 10. Each number is introduced with a simple but charming trick: a rectangular cutout in the page reveals a bit of what lies overleaf, inviting the reader to make a guess at the surprise to come with the turn of the page…Seeger's palette is bold and rich—and those who experience numbers coloristically (in my case, four is blue, seven is green and eight is orange) know how important this can be in making friends with them.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Seeger (First the Egg) crafts another nifty peek-a-boo book, counting to 10 and identifying new words by exposing or covering letters with die-cuts. A square die-cut on the cover frames the head of the title character, who is quickly introduced: as readers turn to the first spread, Seeger offers a numeral one and "one boy" on the verso page, with the boy framed in a rectangle on the right. A turn of the page shifts the opening to the left side and the words "all alone" appear, with "alone" incorporating "one." The boy now is visible without the frame, seated among empty chairs, a knapsack and paintbrushes by his side. This pattern repeats with "two seals/ at the sea," the "sea" derived from "seals." "Three apes," behind die-cut bars of a cage, make a "big escape." Aside from "four monkeys" who "[hold] the key" to the apes' cage, the images do not form a continuous narrative. Instead, the "one boy" reappears, and with the words "all done," he walks away from the book's 10 images, his paintbrushes dripping. Seeger uses pared-down digital art and flat saturated colors, trading in her characteristic handmade appeal for a slick look. But she's innovative as ever, improving a standard-issue concept with a game of words inside words. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Seeger begins her cleverly designed counting book on the cover, with one boy seen through a cutout square. When the first die-cut page of the text "1 One Boy" is turned, it frames the letters of "one" as part of the next text page, "All alone." Opposite sits the boy, alone amid a sea of empty chairs. And so the numbers progress from 1 to 10, with each double page having a cut-out on the right page revealing the subject: two seals, three apes, etc. and the following double page incorporating part of those words seen through the cut-out now on the left as part of the text describing the next scene. At the end, we return to the boy, who is marching off, paintbrushes in backpack, small replicas of the pictures tacked up on the wall. He is "all done." The images are very simplified, painted with minimal contexts, so our response is primarily to the text page. The illustrations are lighthearted, touched with humor, as the four monkeys interlace their tales and the five mice ice skate away. Each number uses a different page color, adding to the attractive appeal. Readers may be challenged to try their own fun with cut-outs and words. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

Seeger's ability to transform everyday words and objects into an amazing concept book continues with One Boy . Using the numbers 1 through 10, her signature die-cut pages, and a vocabulary that is designed to show words inside other words, the author has engineered a tribute to wordplay that is unmatched. On readers' first trip through the text, it will appear that the 10 objects are loosely linked only by their spelling patterns ("Two seals,/At the sea"; "Ten ants/In your pants"). As the story concludes, however, it becomes clear that all of the art was painted by the "one boy" who started it all. Youngsters will quickly return to the beginning to study the paintings more closely. While preschoolers will enjoy the book's design and take pleasure in guessing at what is next to appear, it is children who are beginning to develop their sight vocabulary who will most appreciate Seeger's efforts. This is one boy who won't be left alone for long.-Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA

Kirkus Reviews
Ask anyone-a boy can be clever, playful and unpredictable. Seeger's latest concept book is like that: clever in its design, playful to the point of being puzzling, perplexingly unpredictable. Die-cut alternating pages do double-duty in this boldly graphic counting book, first isolating a portion of an illustration on the right, and then, when the page is turned, disclosing the larger picture while isolating both the numeral and a portion of the preceding text to alter both the visual and the verbal context: one boy / all alone; two seals / at the sea. Readers will want to make predictions about the big reveals, but they may become temporarily frustrated (especially when they reach the unnamed items that represent "nine"). The illustrative objects appear to be unrelated to one another, and there is no pattern or narrative, but the final page discloses a rather convenient connecting thread: These are paintings that the all-alone boy has created to illustrate numbers one through ten. (Picture book. 3-6)
Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
One young boy, with paintbrushes poking out of his bag, sits alone in a red room full of yellow chairs. The bright colors and the anticipation of his next move motivate the reader to turn the page. What follows are seals, apes, monkeys, mice, cars, candles, a cake, brooms, seeds, and flowers in a continuous counting text for numbers 1 through 10. The unique layout of the text and illustrations together is produced with cutout pieces of the pages. Flipping one page after another allows for whole pictures to be revealed. An example is how “One boy” changes to “All alone” when the page is turned and the cutout piece falls over the word “one” inside the word “alone.” This book contains and introduces concept words for young readers, making it appealing and a great learning tool. The ending is satisfying: it shows the boy walking away, with his paint brush bristles dabbed with paint, and his artwork on the walls of the once-red room. This opens up the opportunity to talk about the paintings and look back through the book to see what the boy was doing in the space. This book is a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury; Ages 2 to 6.

Product Details

Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and the recipient of a 2008 Caldecott Honor, Theodor Seuss Geisel Honors for both 2009 and 2008, a 2007 New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, and the 2007 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book. Her books include First the Egg, The Hidden Alphabet, and Dog and Bear, among others.

Raised on Long Island, New York, Seeger began drawing at two years old and never stopped. For as long as she remembers, she wanted to write picture books. She received her B.F.A. degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at SUNY Purchase in Westchester, New York, and then moved to Manhattan, where she worked as an animator, artist, and editor in the network television business.

Seeger lives in Rockville Centre, Long Island, with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper. She loves painting, surfing, tennis, playing the piano, and spending time with her family. She takes long walks at the beach every day and paints in her studio every night.

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One Boy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laura Vaccaro Seeger has found a brilliant way to show how chunks of meaning can hide in the spelling of words. The writing and the design of the book are witty and fun, the fact that it is a counting book is an added bonus. Every child to whom I read this book understands more about written English. I love this book.