“ONLY ONE YOU”
By: Linda Kranz
Book Review by: Moira Calhoun
Linda Kranz’s “Only One You” is a powerful and uplifting story that will have you wanting to share its message with anyone you encounter! It often seems there is no deeper bond than the one between parents and their children. This thought reigns true within this inspirational story. The story begins with “Papa” and “Mama” agreeing that “It’s time”…time to share their wisdom with their young son, Adri. As the story continues, each page and illustration holds an important message about how to find your own way in the world. Preschool, elementary students and beyond will enjoy and relate to this wonderful story!
The painted illustrations in this book captivate the reader from cover to cover. The illustrations create the beautiful underwater setting, with vibrantly colored fish as the characters. After meeting the main characters in the beginning, the illustrator provides a way to distinguish the main character, Adri, from the rest throughout his journey. Despite the other elaborately decorated fish, Adri is always recognizable. While each page only contains one sentence, the sentence holds an important message. The illustrations truly work in harmony with text, as the reader is provided with a visual meaning of each simple, yet powerful message. When Adri is told, “Look for beauty wherever you are, and keep the memory of it with you,” the accompanying illustration shows a group of fish admiring a cluster of clouds in the sky. Adri is shown facing a different direction than the rest, and a pattern of clouds now painted on his body. This symbolizes he is keeping the memory of this beauty with him. Throughout the story, there are words and phrases that are made more recognizable than the rest. The words “beauty” “listen” “reflect” “appreciate” and the phrases “stand out” and “circle back” are all highlighted in a certain way. These words seem to summarize all of the important life lessons that Adri’s parents hope to teach him.
While the author’s words are very deep and meaningful, the light-hearted setting and friendly characters help make the story relatable for children. To a small fish, the ocean can seem like a frightening place. In the same way, our world might be terrifying thought for a small child. As mentioned earlier, the illustrator always helps the reader recognize Adri on each page, with each lesson he learns. This illustrative strategy acts as a powerful metaphor throughout the book that connects to the main theme of the story. Adri’s parents want him to learn that no matter what gets in his way and wherever life takes him, there is only one Adri. The theme of this story develops throughout the character’s journey, but is truly unfolded at the end. Adri sets off into the great big world remembering everything his parents just taught him. However, the one thing they truly want him to remember is that there is only one Adri. The overlying theme is to stay true to who you are and not forget that there is only one of you in this world, so make it the best place it can be. There is no denying that people of all ages can appreciate and learn from this message!
This story certainly portrays different cultures in a unique way. While cultures are not specifically addressed, the idea of accepting all backgrounds and differences is present. Each “fish” has a different pattern, filling the ocean with a beautiful variety of colors.
Since this story contains such an important message, it is successfully transferred into an e-book format, with audio/read-aloud functions to cater to the needs of all individuals. The story is also translated in Spanish for Spanish-speaking readers to enjoy!