cover image Only One

Only One

Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Chuck Groenink. Random House/Schwartz, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-55703-3

“One. Only one” begins Hopkinson’s enumeration of facts about Earth and the universe, as relayed by an information-spouting child narrator with tan skin. In acrylic, ink, and digital art that employs myriad textures, Groenink visualizes the narrator and a group of kids with varying skin tones walking through a wood to join a tree-planting event. Along the way, the child reveals top-down details about the big bang, describing how “one tiny speck” became a universe filled with stars, galaxies, and planets, including Earth and its inhabitants. Each of these components receives its own factual treatment, usually including definitions and numerical details (“The Milky Way contains at least a hundred billion stars”), plus visuals shown in conversation bubbles. Though the narrator’s documentarian-style monologue seems at odds with the inclusion of a substantial cast, the book’s tour guide vibe successfully imparts a host of information while centering themes about conservation on a single planet: “One. Only one.” Ages 4–8. (Apr.)