Just how many things can "one" be?
One box of crayons.
One batch of cookies.
From veteran picture book author George Shannon and up-and-coming artist Blanca Gomez comes a playful, interactive book that shows how a family can be big or small and comprised of people of a range of genders and races.
Shannon's (Hands Say Love) message is clear: no matter how many people there are in a family, what color they are, or what ages they are, they're still a family. An Asian mother and child romp on hobby horses before bedtime: "One is two./ One pair of shoes. One team of horses./ One family." Gomez's (Besos for Baby) combinations of families from one to 10 present lots of possibilities grandparents and children, fathers in turbans, single-parent families, families whose members don't look alike at all. Linking them to ways of counting groups of familiar things ("One is five./ One bunch of bananas. One hand of cards./ One family"), Shannon's blank verse brings home the idea of unity in multiplicity. Gomez's figures have a pleasing, doll-like look, with round heads whose features convey friendliness. Her scenes of city life are imbued with warmth, comfort, and a kind of universality there's little obvious luxury or poverty. It's a quiet vision of a world in which every family is accepted. Ages 4 8. Author's agent: Mary Cummings, Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. Illustrator's agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House.